Classification and Impact of Innovations Launched by Czech Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Monika Barton, Lukáš Procházka

Abstract


Purpose of the article: The article is focused on innovation activities that are considered a key element for future competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, various public policies supporting innovative enterprises are being presented both on European and national level. However, few of them have already contributed to higher innovative performance of small and medium-sized enterprises. One of the reasons is the unclear definition of innovations and lacking comparison of commercial performance of various types of innovations. The article intends to fill the research gap and provide additional information about innovation activities of Czech small and medium-sized enterprises, which might help not only policy-makers and scholars but also business owners and managers. At the very beginning, the article identifies key issues in current methodologies of innovation classification and provides its own solution. Based on the proposed classification and supported by a survey, it gives an overview of how Czech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
implement such innovations and how successful these innovations typically are. As a result, the article provides important insights for innovation managers in their decision-making processes. It also provides important inputs for academic research in the field of innovation management.
Scientific aim: The article intends to contribute to the current scientific discussion of innovation performance of Czech SMEs. It looks at innovations from a multi-dimensional perspective and provides own methodology of their classification. Based on the data gathered within a recent survey, it discovers what type of innovations Czech SMEs typically deal with and how successful such innovations are after their launch.
Methodology/methods: In order to fulfil the scientific aim, various methods were used. Based on analysis of current literature, a complex overview of current issues in innovation management was obtained. Using synthesis, own methodology of classification of innovations was presented, building on and developing other current methodology systems. Based on the own classification, empirical testing was performed within an electronic survey.
Findings: The article discovers high reliance of Czech SMEs on know-how demanding innovations, especially those requiring new technologies and new knowledge. They are not only the innovations that are the most likely to be launched once an enterprise wants to achieve a long-term competitive advantage or disrupt a market. They also play an important role for enterprises trying to gain a short-term competitive advantage or to maintain their competitiveness. The results, however, show that in many cases the enterprises would be better off relying on different type of innovations not only by raising the success rate but also by saving significant R&D costs.
Conclusions: The results of the survey provide important inputs for future research that should focus on raising awareness of less technologically demanding innovations in Czech small and medium-sized enterprises. As results of foreign surveys show, such innovations not only lead to a competitive advantage that is sustainable in a long-term but are also less demanding in terms of finance.

Keywords


Innovation; small and medium-sized enterprises; innovation management; classification of innovations; innovation performance

JEL Classification


O32; O33

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Online: 2013-10-21