Enhancing the Design Capabilities of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Through Knowledge Transfer

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The National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR) has generated extensive case study material based on over 20 successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). These KTP projects have concentrated on enhancing the design capabilities of a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to facilitate innovation and new product development. This paper highlights the opportunities for design and development within SMEs, and provides a rationale for knowledge transfer. PDR's research has identified four issues that characterize design challenges within SMEs: (i) the impact of the owner-manager; (ii) the resource-constrained environment; (iii) the need for an effective design process; and (iv) promoting a company vision for innovation and change. The paper employs twelve exemplar KTP case studies (three in each of these four areas) to fully define these issues and draw conclusions with regard to a framework for effective product design within SMEs.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/146069206789331438

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.
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