The strength of science and technology drivers for SME innovation

Authors: Parrilli, M. and Elola, A.

Journal: Small Business Economics: an international journal

Volume: 39

Issue: 4

Pages: 897-907

Publisher: Springer

ISSN: 1573-0913

DOI: 10.1007/s11187-011-9319-6

This analysis feeds into the academic debate on the most proficient innovation mode across firms, placing special emphasis on the characteristic case of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Of the three main approaches considered, the first stresses the importance of innovation based on science and technology (STI) drivers, such as research and development (R&D) and human capital, whereas the second approach emphasises innovation based on learning by doing, by using and by interacting (DUI); the third, more recent approach is conceived as a combination of the former two (STI ? DUI). In this paper, the three models are tested on a sample of 409 SMEs that have been supported by a public programme for innovation promotion developed by the Basque Government in Spain. The result is quite different from what is expected, yet it is insightful and potentially useful for both academics and policy-makers. Contrarily to what one would expect, SME innovation output is in fact more sensitive to STI drivers than to DUI drivers.

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