An examination of product innovation in low- and medium-technology industries: cases from the UK packaged food sector

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Abstract

Researchers have recognized the unique characteristics of innovation in the food industry since at least the early 1980s (Ettlie 1983). Since this time much research has shed light on our understanding. Significant amongst these findings is the recognition that in low and medium technology (LMT) intensive industries the traditional science and technology model of innovation is not applicable and cannot explain continued product and process innovations (see Bush, 1945; Maclaurin, 1953; Arrow, 1968; Pavitt, 2001; Fitjar and Rodriguez-Pose, 2013). Further, in the classic article by Pavitt (1984: 343–373) he spelt out, in his typology of firms, that ‘LMT industries are characterised by process, organisational and marketing innovations, by weak internal innovation capabilities and by strong dependencies on the external provision of machines, equipment and software’. LMT sectors are central to economic growth. Whether measured in terms of output, capital invested or employment, they dominate the economies of highly developed as well as developing nations, providing more than ninety percent of output in the European Union, the USA and Japan. Given this dominant position within modern industrialised economies attempting to better understand the nature of innovation within this sector is of concern to policy makers and industrialists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)605-623
Number of pages19
JournalResearch Policy
Volume46
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Doing using interacting (DUI)
  • Low technology sector
  • Product innovation
  • Innovation systems
  • Packaged food industry

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