Although there is significant literature on innovation activities in large and medium-sized enterprises, studies that report on innovation practices in micro enterprises are lacking. The purpose of this paper is to explore three issues: understanding of the term “innovation”, innovation practice(s) and how innovation can be effectively measured.
The 12 case studies presented in this paper involve micro enterprises based in Ireland. Data collected during depth interviews provide insights into understanding, practices, motivations, behaviours and attitudes relating to innovation.
Although awareness of innovation theories, processes and procedures is found to be low, all of the micro enterprises studied engage in a range of innovation activities across products, processes, people and marketing. Innovation is important to the development of the enterprises; however, innovation is not a managed or systematic process, and this is often due to lack of resources.
This paper presents six recommendations which are of use to academics, micro enterprises and government support agencies. These recommendations include making changes to the service provided by support agencies, simplifying innovation, developing an innovation brokering facility, and improving the design/delivery of innovation programmes.
The paper enriches understanding of the experience of participants through the use of narrative structuring, and augments knowledge on the innovation practices of micro enterprises.
Faherty, U. and Stephens, S. (2016), "Innovation in micro enterprises: reality or fiction?", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 349-362. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-11-2013-0176Download as .RIS
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