|dc.description.abstract||This paper reports on a research project that sought to identify how SMEs (awarded Millennium Products status by the UK Design Council) managed the barriers to innovation they encountered.
Research objectives were a) to identify how SMEs manage the innovation process and, b) determine if they could act as exemplars of best practice in new product design and development.
Having been awarded Millennium Products status, it was expected that the surveyed SMEs should have overcome any barriers they faced and therefore act as exemplars of how to manage innovation. Although two of the SMEs interviewed did have an exemplary approach to the innovation process, most of the SMEs were as likely to ignore barriers as they were to address them. Living with a barrier as an alternative to overcoming it was clearly an acceptable strategy for a number of these award winners.
Recent research suggests that 93% of all manufacturing companies have less than 25 employees; consequently, this research was targeted at a dominant group of small SMEs. Although much research has looked at identifying barriers to innovation, few studies have sought to identify how SMEs manage the process of innovation. This paper addresses this imbalance.||en_US