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Understanding innovation capacity in food chains: the European traditional food sector

Bianka Kühne (UGent)
(2011)
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Abstract
The capacity to innovate is of great concern to scientists, policy makers and the business community. Recent understanding has led to the recognition that innovation is the output of a very complex process involving several actors, both inside and outside the firm. However, it is necessary to understand how the different actors contribute to innovation capacity. This PhD research was conducted in the frame of the Integrated Project “Traditional United European Food” (TRUEFOOD) financed by the European Commission (6th Framework Programme). Firstly, it is investigated how crucial the intensity of collaboration in networks is for the development of innovation in micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Secondly, the innovation capacity of food chains is investigated based on the perspectives of three chain members. Thirdly, the influence of the chain relationship quality on the innovation capacity in the chain is assessed. Fourthly, the contribution of network connections of each individual chain partner outside the chain to the innovation capacity of the whole chain is explored. Fifthly and finally, the innovations applied in traditional food chains are matched with the consumer’s acceptance of these innovations. Assessing the innovation capacity in food chains based on the perspectives of three interrelated chain partners clarifies that the innovation capacity of a firm is interlinked with the innovation capacity of its chain partners and intensive collaboration within the chain. When it comes to innovation in relation to traditional food products Jerry Johnson is right: “The winner says: It may be difficult but it is possible, while the loser says: It may be possible but it is too difficult”. This PhD research can be taken as a starting point for a novel approach in analyzing chains and networks. Hence, in future research it is suggested to gradually increase the degree of complexity of the studied system and to apply the developed measurement tool for innovation capacity to other sectors and countries.
Keywords
Food chain, Innovation capacity, SMEs, Inter-firm alliances, Collaboration

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Kühne, Bianka. 2011. “Understanding Innovation Capacity in Food Chains: The European Traditional Food Sector”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.
APA
Kühne, B. (2011). Understanding innovation capacity in food chains: the European traditional food sector. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.
Vancouver
1.
Kühne B. Understanding innovation capacity in food chains: the European traditional food sector. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering; 2011.
MLA
Kühne, Bianka. “Understanding Innovation Capacity in Food Chains: The European Traditional Food Sector.” 2011 : n. pag. Print.
@phdthesis{1101774,
  abstract     = {The capacity to innovate is of great concern to scientists, policy makers and the business community. Recent understanding has led to the recognition that innovation is the output of a very complex process involving several actors, both inside and outside the firm. However, it is necessary to understand how the different actors contribute to innovation capacity. This PhD research was conducted in the frame of the Integrated Project {\textquotedblleft}Traditional United European Food{\textquotedblright} (TRUEFOOD) financed by the European Commission (6th Framework Programme). 
Firstly, it is investigated how crucial the intensity of collaboration in networks is for the development of innovation in micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Secondly, the innovation capacity of food chains is investigated based on the perspectives of three chain members. Thirdly, the influence of the chain relationship quality on the innovation capacity in the chain is assessed. Fourthly, the contribution of network connections of each individual chain partner outside the chain to the innovation capacity of the whole chain is explored. Fifthly and finally, the innovations applied in traditional food chains are matched with the consumer{\textquoteright}s acceptance of these innovations. 
Assessing the innovation capacity in food chains based on the perspectives of three interrelated chain partners clarifies that the innovation capacity of a firm is interlinked with the innovation capacity of its chain partners and intensive collaboration within the chain. When it comes to innovation in relation to traditional food products Jerry Johnson is right: {\textquotedblleft}The winner says: It may be difficult but it is possible, while the loser says: It may be possible but it is too difficult{\textquotedblright}. This PhD research can be taken as a starting point for a novel approach in analyzing chains and networks. Hence, in future research it is suggested to gradually increase the degree of complexity of the studied system and to apply the developed measurement tool for innovation capacity to other sectors and countries.},
  author       = {K{\"u}hne, Bianka},
  isbn         = {9789059894204},
  keyword      = {Food chain,Innovation capacity,SMEs,Inter-firm alliances,Collaboration},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {X, 184},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Understanding innovation capacity in food chains: the European traditional food sector},
  year         = {2011},
}