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Innovativeness in the global forest products industry: exploring new insights

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Innovativeness is a concept that has seen extensive study, yet there remain significant gaps in our understanding of the phenomenon. This is especially true when considering views of practitioners as well as specific industry sectors, such as the forest products industry. The qualitative work described here explores the concept of innovativeness from the perspective of forest industry managers. Managers consistently described five aspects of what it means to be an innovative company: (i) new, (ii) creating the “right” culture, (iii) managing the market–customer link, (iv) being a leader, and (v) a focus on the future. Similar to past research, managers identified new or improved products, processes, and business systems as areas within which a firm can be innovative. Results also outline challenges that firms face as they attempt to become innovative, how they would go about measuring innovativeness, and how they build innovative capacity. Based on these findings, we suggest that firms have significant opportunities to increase innovativeness and, thereby, enhance competitiveness.

L’innovativité est un concept qui a fait l’objet d’études approfondies mais il y a encore d’importantes lacunes dans notre compréhension du phénomène. Cela est particulièrement vrai lorsqu’on considère l’opinion des praticiens ainsi que certains secteurs industriels tels que l’industrie des produits forestiers. Le travail qualitatif décrit ici explore le concept d’innovativité du point de vue des gestionnaires de l’industrie forestière. Les gestionnaires décrivent invariablement cinq éléments qui caractérisent une compagnie novatrice: nouveauté, créer la culture appropriée, gérer la relation entre le marché et les clients, être un chef de file et être tourné vers le futur. Comme dans les études antérieures, les gestionnaires ont identifié les produits améliorés ou nouveaux, les processus et les systèmes d’affaires comme des domaines où une entreprise peut innover. Les résultats esquissent aussi les défis auxquels les entreprises font face lorsqu’elles cherchent à innover, la façon dont elles pourraient mesurer l’innovativité et comment elles bâtissent leur capacité d’innovation. Sur la base de ces résultats, nous croyons que les entreprises ont de réelles possibilités d’accroître leur innovativité et par conséquent d’améliorer leur compétitivité.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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