The INSEE of Haute-Normandie, in partnership with the regional innovation agency Seinari, has just published a study on the behaviour of regional companies in the face of innovation. While the regional innovation rate remains below the national average (51.3 % in Haute-Normandie compared with 53.01 % in France), it is worth noting the spectacular involvement of companies with 20 to 49 employees, which recorded an increase of +11.6 points compared with the previous study, bringing the innovation rate of these companies to 54.8 %.
This is the latest quantified study on innovation by SMEs in the regions. Covering the period 2008-2010, this study is the regional version of a survey carried out at the European Community level. A survey for which firms in Haute-Normandie were mobilised (80 % participation rate, i.e. around 830 establishments with 10 to 249 employees), and for which national firms with a local presence were excluded.
"Beyond the figures, what this study reveals is the dynamic approach in terms of evolution that regional companies can have when it comes to innovation," explains Alain Malmartel, regional director of INSEE. Indeed, one of the main findings of this study is that nearly 50 % of the companies surveyed (51.3%) acknowledge having undertaken an innovation process within their structure. This innovation can be broken down into three variants: technological (33.8%), organizational (35.1%) and commercial (20.6%).
Financing, the sinews of war
While the renewed interest of regional companies in innovation is significant, it should not hide the fact that many companies admit that they have not been involved in innovation. For 20 % of them, the first argument put forward is the cost of innovation and the lack of internal financial resources (18%). "A trend that should ease over time, as access to public financial support will have been completely rethought in 2011," emphasizes Bernard Lemoine, Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Directorate for Business, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment - Haute-Normandie (Direccte), who was present at the presentation of this study.
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Nevertheless, public support is very useful for almost half of innovative companies. Indeed, over the period of the survey, almost half of innovative firms (51%) received financial support: local authorities, national organisations, European Union, research tax credit.
Alain Malmartel, Regional Director of Insee & Didier Pezier, Chairman of Seinari
Without innovation, go through the box... commercial court!
For Didier Pezier, President of Seinari, the innovation agency in Haute-Normandie, "if a company does not innovate, it is doomed to disappear. Innovation, as this study shows, is not just technological innovation. When it concerns organisation or marketing, it means that the company is trying to adapt to its market. A company's ability to innovate is what will put it ahead or behind its main competitors. To engage a quality approach in its company, to integrate customer listening, to develop a commercial strategy on the Internet... is all that, to innovate ".
Another virtue of innovation is the new deal it creates between principals and suppliers. For Bernard Lemoine, "when price negotiations were the only basis of reference, innovation made it possible to introduce new relationships. When you include grey matter in your discussions, the relationships are no longer the same". (Source : drakkaronline.com - 26 Oct 2012)