Perceptions of Extremaduran Firms Towards Innovation: Manufacturing vs. KIBS Comparative Study

Perceptions of Extremaduran Firms Towards Innovation: Manufacturing vs. KIBS Comparative Study

Beatriz Corchuelo Martínez-Azúa (University of Extremadura, Spain), Francisco J. Mesías (University of Extremadura, Spain) and Ahmed Elghannam (Damanhour University, Egypt)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3525-6.ch013

Abstract

Innovation is an important source of economic growth and a key to the competitiveness of firms, which are the main agents of innovation systems. The main objective of this chapter is to analyse, in a deep sense, the perceptions of Extremaduran towards innovation and their relation with the financial public support received and the main public actions that firms demand in order to reduce such obstacles differentiating by manufacturing firms and Knowledge Intensive Business Sector (KIBS). To do this, we analyse specific questions of an ad hoc survey focused on issues not covered by other Spanish or international surveys about innovation. Data were collected in 2013 from a representative sample of manufacturing and KIBS companies in Extremadura. Among different sectors, certain differences were observed in the perceived obstacles and public actions sought by companies that can be considered to carry out modifications in current innovation policies, especially on a regional scale.
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Introduction

In the present context of globalization, innovation is an important source of economic growth and a key to the competitiveness of enterprises, which are the main agents of innovation systems. Innovation is generally characterized by changes in a complex and interrelated system composed of product, service, market knowledge, actors and society. The current model of innovation is mainly focused on the role of business as a driver of innovation, also paying attention to informal activities as sources of new knowledge and innovative processes. Innovation, in all of its expressions, is a highly important factor in the development of an economy due to its impact on macroeconomic (economic growth) and microeconomic (productivity and competitiveness of companies) point of view.

Innovation depends as well on the relationships and interactions between the different actors, the creation of networks, learning and dissemination of these processes and, for these reasons, it is essential to recognize the cultural role that defines us as a society (Delucchi, 2006). In this sense, innovation establishes a close link between the legal and the social context in which it develops and that implies to make an effort to determine its role in the economy without overlooking the geographical environment in which it operates. In this sense, there is agreement between scientists about the key role that innovation plays in the competitiveness of business and territories both in the medium and long term (Porter, 1990; Castillo & Crespo, 2011). The proximity (geographical, institutional, cultural, etc.) between actors of innovation in a country facilitates the establishment of close relationships (interpersonal, inter-firm, intersectoral) wich lead to the creation, acquisition, accumulation and application of knowledge (González-Pernía, Martiarena, Navarro, & Peña, 2009; Asheim & Isaksen, 2002; Lundvall, 1992). Spanish regions have recently recognized the importance of managing their innovation systems and the allocation of resources to stimulate innovation capacity (Asheim & Coenen, 2006; Lundvall & Borrás, 1997).

That is why there is a special interest for the governments to promote scientific and technological research. In this sense, in Spain, the law on Science, Technology and Innovation (2011) shows the importance of knowledge generation, its dissemination and application in order to achieve a social or economic benefit. This law is articulated through two multi-annual planning instruments that are taken into account as a reference in all the Autonomous Communities: the Spanish Strategy for Science and Technology and Innovation, and the State Plans for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation. In Extremadura, the regional law on Innovation (2010) regulates, for the first time, in a global and systematic way, the performance of the regional public administration in this type of actions. Within this framework, in 2014, the current V PRI + D + I Plan (2014-2017) is launched, being the first to be born under the Extremaduran Law of Science.

Despite all these activities aimed at the promotion of innovation scope for improvement still remains, especially through the public administration’s knowledge of the needs required by companies in order to encourage and promote innovation, as well as trying to reduce the obstacles that companies reveal when developing projects and innovative activities. The main objective of this chapter is to analyze, in a deep sense, the perceptions of Extremaduran towards innovation and their relation with the financial public support received and the main public actions that firms demand in order to reduce such obstacles differentiating by manufacturing firms and Knowledge Intensive Business Sector (KIBS).

Key Terms in this Chapter

R&D Fiscal Incentives: They are financial public tools to incentive innovation. They show a horizontal character because they can be used by all firms performing R&D activities according to fiscal regulations. Fiscal incentives differ among the countries where they are applied. Definition of Keyword.

Organizational Innovation: Is the implementation of a new organizational method in the firm’s business, workplace organization and external relations (Oslo Manual).

Innovation: This term comes from the Latin word innovare that, in turn, comes from novus that means new . The Oslo Manual (2005) AU48: The in-text citation "Oslo Manual (2005)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. defines innovation as “the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations”. This definition means that we can distinguish four types of innovation.

Innovation Systems: Group of elements that, in the national, regional or local environment, act to favor of any creation process, diffusion or use of economically useful knowledge.

Marketing Innovation: Is The implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design, or packing, product placement product promotion or prices (Oslo Manual).

R&D Subsidies: They are financial public tools to incentive innovation. They can be requested by those firms that develop innovative projects. These tools present a concrete character, because they are oriented to stimulate R&D activities of certain areas or sectors where the gap among the private and social profitability is higher.

Product Innovation: Is the introduction of a good or service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness and other functional characteristics (Oslo Manual).

Process Innovation: Is the implementation of a new or a significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in technique, equipment or software (Oslo Manual).

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