chapter
16 Pages

Introduction

WithPeter Swann

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the characteristics of those small firms that introduce substantial innovations, their economic performance and survival, and their direct contribution to local and regional economic development. It describes the central importance of supplier-user relations for success in technology generation and implementation, and the role of experts in these relationships. The book examines the extent to which skills shortages act as a constraint on the adoption of new technologies in a local labour market, and if so, what training strategies firms adopt to overcome these constraints. It summarizes the results of an innovative research project designed to assess the value of proactive marketing to small high-technology-based firms. The book describes the internal and external pressures that may constrain firms from investing in new innovative technologies.