The marketplace of ideas: Exploring open innovation in traditional food producing SMEs

Joan Lockyer, Breda ODwyer, Helena McMahon

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


    This paper explores open innovation practice in the traditional food producing (TFP) sector, with a specific focus on meat, bakery and dairy products. The TFP sector is often characterised as highly fragmented, comprising of micro, small and medium sized businesses operating from a very low technology base. SMEs involved in ‘artisanal’, typically locally sourced and marketed products frequently shun technology feeling that its adoption would dilute the authenticity, traditional nature and quality of their products. Producers differentiate their offer based on the ‘story’ of their production and not its cost. This enables them to occupy a niche market space; differentiating from larger competitors who retail commoditised products with little reference to the people and places involved in the production process. Introducing new knowledge, research concepts, and technologies (these are often simply characterised as ‘technology’) into the traditional food sector therefore has a number of challenges.
    Supported by a European (FP7 project) called TARDEIT, an electronic marketplace was developed to acts as the broker of technology, knowledge and innovation. The marketplace was specifically designed as an online Agri-Food Community which aimed to facilitate technology and knowledge transfer and to support the development of innovation partnership between technology providers, (including universities and research centres) and traditional food producers in the dairy, meat and bakery sectors. Drawing on data from nine European hubs and over 1000 registered users of the marketplace, this paper explores how capturing and measuring knowledge and technology transfer data is problematic. Knowledge may be tactic or concrete, codified or un-codified and transferred formally or informally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication10th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    PublisherAcademic Publishing International
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)978‐1‐911218‐08‐1
    ISBN (Print)978‐1‐911218‐07‐4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016
    EventEuropean Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneruship - Jyväskylä University School of, Jyväskylä, Finland
    Duration: 15 Sept 201616 Sept 2016


    ConferenceEuropean Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneruship
    Abbreviated titleECIE


    • open innovation
    • Technology transfer
    • Traditional Food Producers
    • SME
    • Artisan


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