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Green networks: Innovative capacity of SMEs in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture industry
Published June 30, 2012
43-50

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.

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Co-innovation: what are the success factors?
Published May 30, 2009
29-36

The problem we address in this paper is that in projects focusing on public-private cooperation to stimulate innovation in the Netherlands, initiatives often lack continuation after the study-phase. We extracted possible influencing variables from business and (transaction) cost economic theorizing, stakeholder and capability theory. Moreover, ...we used measures for classifying projects with respect to financial interdependencies between participants. We supposed that project characteristics influence managerial behavior to continue or stop. We studied 28 projects (20 supply chain projects and 8 biological product development projects). Our aim was to explore the barriers and success factors for these co-innovation projects: innovation as a cooperative effort between public sector/research institute and private organization(s). We derived data from project descriptions and performed semi-structured interviews with project informants. Critical to success appears to be ex ante commitment of all parties. Goal congruence, both at a personal and a company level, and proportionality of sharing in project results are of decisive importance to establish such commitment. Estimations about financial project results should be made in an early stage; they should be used as a basis for negotiations on the (re)distribution of costs and benefits, especially if the value added is disproportionally distributed over the participants. Ideally, project teams of co-innovation projects should bring in complementary capabilities: technical, marketing, financial and organizational. Project governance should therefore be organized in such a way that the knowledge gaps are filled in before kick-off.

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The economic aspects of innovation in sheep breeding
Published July 30, 2010
97-104

During my investigations, I highlighted three innovations, all of which serve the production of a final product, sheep kefir. This product contains a unique added value and involves several innovational opportunities. I examined the complex economic analysis of the innovations and technological elements investigated with respect to revenues fro...m the sale of sheep milk, sheep cheese (kashkaval) and sheep kefir. The kashkaval-type sheep cheese does not contain sufficient added value to cover the costs of innovational investments. Investigating the innovational activity for developing sheep kefir and for its market introduction, its cash flow balance becomes positive already in the second year after realization, and is able to generate significant profit.

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27
3
Potential of vertical and horizontal integration in the Hungarian fish product chain
Published September 30, 2014
5-15

After the economic and political transformation, the output and resource utilization of the Hungarian fish production sector decreased less than in other livestock sectors, and it managed to preserve its income position. As a consequence of the relatively low level of the implemented innovative developments, though, for all the EU assistance av...ailable the cooperation efforts did not prove to be very efficient. The relatively favourable income position of several farms led them to a kind of “leisureliness”, and as a result, the level of the applied production technology in many cases did not even reach that of the 1970s. All these circumstances led to the degradation of the innovations and to the expiration of the horizontal and vertical integrations in the sector, leaving the commercial and cooperation forms being typical in an otherwise stabile classical free-market environment. Problems were further increased – amongst other things – by the volatile cereal prices, 27% VAT rate, and the introduction of road toll. After long years, certain farms were to face losses, and the decline of profitability at sectorial level, thus the need for innovation and producers’ co-operations has become imperative. As a solution option to these problems, a model of a product chain containing both horizontal and vertical elements and comprising the entire sector has been developed. Present study introduces this new model, which is established on foreign examples primarily, but takes the Hungarian specialities into account too.

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Complex problem analysis of the Hungarian dairy farms
Published June 30, 2012
93-100

Hungarian dairy farms went through significant changes in past two decades. The most significant changes were caused by our accession to the European Union in 2004. In Hungary milk production remarkably declined after EU accession due to the decreasing level of support and decreasing milk prices. Size of our dairy herd has been practically redu...cing since the political transformation (1989); meanwhile the relative yields per cow have been continuously increasing. Relatively low prices, high production costs and tightening quality requirements ousted several producers – mainly small farms - from the market in past years. Feeding cost represents the highest rate in cost structure of production, but animal health expenditures and various losses are also significant. Applied technology of the Hungarian dairies lags behind theWestern-European competitors’; in addition they have handicaps in efficiency and product innovation. Moreover Hungarian milk and milk product consumption is about half of the Union average. In 2007 at the University of Debrecen the opportunities and the problems of this sector were discussed in the framework of a research and development project entitled “Project-generating based on sector-specific innovation”.At this workshop farmers, experts and advisers shared their ideas which were all gathered. The main objective of our paper is to provide useful information for the decision makers and the most important members of the sector. Using the practically successful ideas plus the ideas based on previous experience a new strategic concept was created. To reach the objective of this paper we collected, synthesized and analysed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the dairy farms and performed a SWOT analysis. On the basis of this SWOT analysis we set up a well organised problem hierarchy which would help to identify the main weaknesses of the sector. This analysis gives a great framework for the researches and it also gives a useful tool for the decision makers to improve the competitiveness of the Hungarian dairy sector.

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