The Dutch greenhouse horticulture industry is characterized by world leadership in high-tech innovation. The dynamics of this playing field are innovation in production systems and automation, reduction in energy consumption and sharing limited space. However, international competitive advantage of the industry is under pressure and sustainable... growth of individual enterprises is no longer a certainty. The sector’s ambition is to innovate better and grow faster than the competition in the rest of the world. Realizing this ambition requires strengthening the knowledge base, stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation (not just technological, but especially business process innovation). It also requires educating and professionalizing people. However, knowledge transfer in this industry is often fragmented and innovation through horizontal and vertical collaboration throughout the value chain is limited. This paper focuses on the question: how can the grower and the supplier in the greenhouse horticulture chain gain competitive advantage through radical product and process innovation. The challenge lies in time- to-market, in customer relationship, in developing new product/market combinations and in innovative entrepreneurship. In this paper an innovation and entrepreneurial educational and research programme is introduced. The programme aims at strengthening multidisciplinary collaboration between enterprise, education and research. Using best practice examples, the paper illustrates how companies can realize growth and improve the innovative capacity of the organization as well as the individual by linking economic and social sustainability. The paper continues to show how participants of the program develop competencies by means of going through a learning cycle of single-loop, double-loop and triple loop learning: reduction of mistakes, change towards new concepts and improvement of the ability to learn. Finally, the paper illustrates the importance of combining enterprise, education and research in regional networks, with examples from the greenhouse horticulture sector. These networks generate economic growth and international competitiveness by acting as business accelerators.
With sustained use and creation of knowledge in the centre of the economic development process, an economy essentially becomes a Knowledge Economy. A Knowledge Economy (KE) is one that utilizes knowledge as the key engine of economic growth. It is an economy where knowledge is acquired, created, disseminated and used effectively to enhance econ...omic development.
As a consortium partner, University of Debrecen, Hungary, has been conducting a European four-year project with the acronym NetGrow financed within the Framework Program 7 under the auspices of the EU focusing on network behaviour of food SMEs and the performance of networks. The overall objective is to reveal more evidences and facts on innova...tion, learning, and networking in the food sector of the EU. Whithin the scope of the project, special attention was paid to reveal how network attributes were evaluated by the main four stakeholder groups of the food sector such as food SMEs, public bodies, research institutions, and network management organisations. The respondents differ in ranking the attributes, while but we got a clear order of attributes, of which the top five can be explicitly selected. Taking the next three ranks into consideration, the attributes behind them have clear meanings and they seem to be complementary for the top five. The stakeholder groups were significantly differ in scoring openmindedness and external relations, the importance of network rendered services, and the goals relevance of the network to the firms.
In order to achieve the Lisbon objectives and create a knowledge based society, Europe needs to increase and improve investment in R&D. This requires improving the effectiveness and coherence of research policies at European, national and regional levels. The first cycle of application of the open method of co-ordination (OMC) to the 3% obj...ective provided an overview of the Member States policies in a number of areas, facilitated mutual learning and led to a number of policy recommendations adopted by CREST in October 2004. The current regional benchmarking practice is made with in a 6th Framework Programme project called Cognac, which is the acronym for Coordination of R&D&I policies and their coherence with other policies in NewlyAcceded Countries. The project is focusing on two priority subjects: public research spending and policy mixes and SMEs and research. The project was supported within the first cycle of the RTD-OMC NET call. The benchmarking exercise tries to show the differences in the performance of participating regions. It supposed to choose the best regions at NUTS II level by the two priority topic of the project: “Public research spending and policy mixes” and “SMEs and research”. Geographically the analysis covers the area of the eight partnering regions.