Title: A new role for small business in innovation networks: an industrial perspective

Authors: Gilles Lambert, Veronique Schaeffer

Addresses: Beta Laboratory, Ecole de Management Strasbourg, University of Strasbourg, 61 Avenue de la Foret Noire, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France. ' BETA Laboratory, Economics and Management Department, University of Strasbourg, 61 Avenue de la Foret Noire, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France

Abstract: The strategies implemented by businesses to preserve or improve their competitiveness evolve over time since they are inscribed in an economic environment that is in a natural and permanent mutation. The central position of radical innovation in an environment marked by the intensification of competition, the need for returns on investment and the permanent acceleration of technological evolution is expressed through numerous organisational innovations related to the innovative activity of companies. One of the outstanding characteristics of the introduced innovations is the extension of Research and Development (R&D) activities to collaborations between companies and the building of innovation networks that imply diverse actors. The role of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in innovation networks has evolved. To remain competitive, they must also develop their innovative capacity. In large companies, changes in their innovation strategy are most notably characterised by openness to partners who are not the usual ones; SMEs are among these unusual partners.

Keywords: small businesses; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; innovation networks; cognitive modularity; trans-industrial modularity; radical innovation; design activity; entrepreneurship; competitiveness; technological evolution; research and development; R&D; inter-company collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2010.029499

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2010 Vol.9 No.1, pp.1 - 19

Published online: 30 Nov 2009 *

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