Inderscience Publishers

Sources of innovation for high-tech SMEs: a comparison of USA, Canada, and Portugal

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Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are making significant contributions to the economy of many countries through their ability to innovate new products and processes. The purpose of this study is to compare the importance of different sources of innovative ideas as reported by R&D professionals working in high-tech SMEs in the USA, Canada, and Portugal. Based upon a survey of 196 R&D professionals working in a number of different SMEs in these three countries, significant differences were found between countries for nine of 14 sources. These include customers, co-workers, competitors, internal R&D, manufacturing, top management, cooperation with other firms, university and research institutions, and professional journals. Also of interest was that internal sources of innovation were more highly rated than external sources for both Canada and Portugal. This seems to be at variance with recent findings that promote the importance of external sources.

Keywords: innovation sources, small and medium-sized enterprises, high-tech SMEs, Portugal, Canada, USA, R&, D, research and development, United States

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