June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
23.95.1 - 23.95.12
A qualitative study into the innovation and technology transfer experience of a micro-manufacturer within a University-Industry collaboration context in regional AustraliaAbstract: Small-Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) play a critical part and are an importantcontribution to the economy in Australia, and the imperative to innovate has been greaterthan ever in a globalized economic setting. This research explored a number of questionssurrounding SMEs, their innovation practices and the policy that influence them. Thisresearch builds on prior studies and addressed a significant gap within the literature in adescriptive and explanatory way. This research reviewed and identified, through a case studyapproach with a series of in-depth qualitative data collection, analyses and discussions,barriers to innovation in micro-regional SME in Australia, and outlines recommendations forhow these can be overcome. In essence, the research aims to provides a deeper insight intowhat actually happens and why it happens; factors affecting innovation and technologytransfer (I&TT) in regional micro-manufacturers, and describes an intervening investigationinto the I&TT process in the SME sector within a University-Industry collaboration context.It is evidenced that this research field is well contributed by the large number of publishedresearch articles. The paper explores and reflects on the innovation and technology transferexperience within a micro-manufacturer, obtained through embedment of one of the authorsin an SME firm. The research initially focused on the manufacturing factors such asincreasing productivity through work study and work-flow analysis, and introducing semi-automation and flexible manufacturing methodology. As the project progressed, however,several non-manufacturing factors were identified as major influences in the I&TT processwithin the targeted micro-manufacturer. The ability for firms to progress in improving themanufacturing factors is often dependent on these factors, which are categorized as verypersonal and business related (rather than technical related). The research involved a SWOTanalysis on the business, learning and discovering the obstacles and barriers for I&TT,seeking and proposing ways to reduce it, and modeling the overall I&TT process withinmicro-manufacturers in regional areas, and termed Regional Knowledge Diffusion (RKD)model. This model developed through this research can be used as a conceptual frameworkfor developing future policies for encouraging innovation and technology transfer within auniversity-industry context within the regional Small-Medium-Enterprise sector.
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