SMEs Digitalisation through clustering, the role of open innovation: A research agenda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Clustering has been a widely pragmatic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) practice for innovation during the last two decades. Though its application is complicated due to the challenges and issues in low and middle-income countries, it is expected that all SMEs will benefit from the unique learning and innovative opportunities in a cluster. A systematic review and research agenda on how open innovation in a cluster could stimulate digitalisation in SMEs has not been addressed. Hence, this study seeks to conduct a review of existing literature on the role of clusters in fostering SMEs' digitalisation through the practices of open innovation. The research specific objectives are to examine SMEs' practice of open innovation, analyse the benefits and assess the intermediate role of a cluster for digitalisation within the context of SMEs. The paper aims to provide a framework for future research by presenting propositions. The methodology and approach for the study with a discussion on data extraction and synthesis were articulated. A comprehensive review of the literature to justify the approach was applied. A detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria were presented. Also, the selection process for assessing the articles was provided. This review scrutinised published peer-reviewed papers between January 2014 and December 2021. Findings from the reviewed papers show that cluster development will increase specialisation, and divide labour among participating firms. It reveals the process of open innovation in SMEs’ practice and the management of open innovation practice in SMEs. Also, it will improve collaboration, shared infrastructure, and knowledge sharing for increased market competitiveness. In addition, collaboration in a cluster will reduce the cost of SMEs' digitalisation, promote new firms, and reduce operational costs. Some beneficiaries of this research were highlighted. Finally, directions for future research with suggestions were comprehensively provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
EditorsPantelis Sklias, Nikolaos Apostolopoulos
PublisherEuropean Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-914587-49-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-914587-48-1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2022
Event17th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Pafos, Cyprus
Duration: 15 Sept 202216 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ECIE
ISSN (Print)2049-1050


Conference17th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Abbreviated titleECIE 2022
Internet address


  • cluster
  • collaboration
  • digitalisation
  • open innovation
  • small and medium enterprises
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'SMEs Digitalisation through clustering, the role of open innovation: A research agenda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this