An empirical investigation of innovation determinants in food machinery enterprises
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the main findings of an empirical study conducted in the Italian food machinery industry, on identifying the technological innovation determinants in small or medium enterprises. Design/methodology/approach – On the basis of a research framework, a study was carried out on 98 Italian firms operating in the food machinery industry, by means of a questionnaire survey. A statistical analysis was conducted on the data collected, in order to understand which are the most important factors influencing innovation and the relative effect on the innovation output of the various factors considered. Findings – The results of the statistical analysis conducted show that, in contrast with the trend of the industry investigated, great importance is attributed only to collaboration with universities and research centres. Network actors are not perceived as an important source of information for innovation, while universities, conferences and scientific papers are significant sources of information in explaining the share of total turnover from new products or processes and process innovations, respectively. As far as, obstacles to innovation are concerned, the results indicate that both financial and informative obstacles are consistently associated with the innovative output. Finally, firms focusing on market and efficiency related innovation objectives realise higher levels of process related innovative output. Originality/value – The study provides some empirical evidence on identifying and prioritising the technological innovation determinants for enterprises operating in the context of a northern Italian district.