Impediments to innovation faced by Canadian manufacturing firms

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Abstract:

Using the findings of the 1999 Survey of Innovation in the Canadian manufacturing sector, we analyse the impediments, i.e. the problems and obstacles, that firms in the sector face when they innovate. In particular, we assess the factors which inhibit innovation, especially with regard to by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). First we try to establish the relationship between the impediments to innovation and various firm characteristics. Then we assess whether these impediments actually prevent firms from innovating or whether firms are able to overcome them.

We find that the perception of impediments to innovation vary according to firm characteristics. For example, large firms are more likely to report the high cost of developing innovation and organizational rigidities as impediments than small firms. However, they seem to have less difficulty with regard to financing innovation projects compared to SMEs. Our results also show that firms seem to be able to overcome most of the obstacles to innovation. Therefore, the impediments featured in innovation survey(s) should not be interpreted as impenetrable barriers that prevent innovation. The sole exception is organizational rigidities. Firms facing organizational rigidities are less likely to become innovative, whether they are small, medium, or large. From our results, we conclude that small firms do not face particular impediments which prevent them from becoming innovative.

Keywords: Impediments; Innovation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10438590410001628387

Affiliations: 1: Industry Canada Economist, Industrial Analysis Centre Ottawa ON Canada K1A 0H5 2: Industry Canada Manager, Economic Analysis, Marketplace Innovation Directorate, Innovation Policy Branch Ottawa ON Canada K1A 0H5

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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