Benefiting a regional economy with societal-driven innovation adoption in high-tech small firms
Dr Brendan Galbraith and Ms Kirsty McManus (Ulster)
A key question is how do business models ensure that new high-tech innovations are responsible, benefit society and are well aligned to regional policy? This is an increasingly important question for policy-makers and high tech small firms in Northern Ireland. The question is important because although innovation adoption in high-tech small firms (HTSFs) has long been a United Kingdom and European priority, and despite decades of attention, there is still a dearth of innovative HTSFs and, worryingly low participation levels of HTSFs in United Kingdom and European Research & Development and innovation funding programmes. To capitalise on emerging high-tech markets, it is imperative that HTSFs have the capacity to exploit these new opportunities and crucially, to contribute to the development of a modern economy. Research carried out by the University of Ulster in European projects investigated how policy can help address the dearth of SMEs in European and national innovation funding programmes. The growth of innovative HTSFs has the potential to contribute to both the economic and social development of a regional economy. However, the mainstream business model frameworks that are used to develop value propositions of high-tech innovations are exclusively focused on the corporate perspective and do not encompass the benefit to society. This presentation addresses these issues and looks at how the research findings might influence the development of policy in Northern Ireland.