Innovation within Small and Medium-sized  Mechanically-based Firms

Innovation within Small and Medium-sized Mechanically-based Firms

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This Canadian-based research studies innovation cases within the traditional craft-based sector of small to medium-sized mechanically-based manufacturing firms. This research describes the practices and processes involved with thirteen innovations (including a mix of product and process innovations) and the overall innovation processes of four firms within two industries. The findings indicate that approximately half of the most innovative firm’s innovation practices were shared with the other firms, while the other half of the practices were found to be either idiosyncratic or only partially shared. Of particular interest were twelve innovation practices that were particularly influential and shared within the most innovative firms. This sector provides a particularly rich setting for the study of continuous innovation. The sector competes primarily on product differentiation without effective intellectual property protections that can accommodate temporal gaps in innovative activities. Consequently, survival in this sector requires ongoing innovation, and given the size of the firms, there is little room for error in their innovation management.
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