Innovation investments, market engagement and financial performance: A study among Australian manufacturing SMEs
Innovation-related activities within firms have traditionally been viewed as primary drivers of product and service differentiation and hopefully firm performance. Such views assume the effective transfer of newly developed products or services to a market willing to transact for the innovative products at a price that sustains the research, development and commercialisation processes behind the initial investments. In this paper, we 'unpack' this model linking primary R&D and related activities, the steps taken within the firm's market and transform its operational presence, and measures of firm performance. Using a sample of 449 Australian manufacturing companies from the Business Longitudinal Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the paper develops a mediated model by which we examine the impact of innovation on firm performance mediated through a firm's market engagement and transformation strategies. This paper finds that organisational performance is driven by innovation only when mediated through these transformation outcomes. The results contribute to the innovation literature in finding that innovation-related activities can only drive a firm's competitive advantage when they occur concomitantly with actual changes in the market position and offerings of firms.
Innovation and Technology Management