Technology Adoption in SMEs
From the 220+ SMEs that participated in the benchmarking study, the composite scores achieved for Technology and Capital Utilisation was the least while Innovation Culture scored the highest. The study indicated two dominant trends aside from many other significant findings – (i) firms are conservative when it comes to taking risk and innovating; and, (ii) firms prefer to adopt a follow-the-leader approach.
It was found that manufacturing firms seldom engage in the use of consultants, external experts and place little emphasis on crowdsourcing ideas and new thinking. Only 7% of firms were found to invest in these activities on a regular basis. Consequently, only 17% of the firms were found to assess new technology solutions and only 34% undertook this assessment on an annual basis.
One inference from this evidence is that a significant productivity dividend can be achieved by boosting technology planning, exploration and uptake in SMEs. For this to be realised, SMEs need to systematically invest in capability building. However, a related finding from the same study showed that employees in these SMEs were only able to access about 8-16 hours of such development on an annual basis. With SMEs being time poor and with most of such capability building taking place away from the workplace, it is reasonable to explore how development activities can be taken directly into the workplace.
Consequently, the central objective of this initiative is to- increase the uptake and reach of the technology adoption process in SMEs as an important channel to increase productivity.
To aid this effort, SCRIPT has partnered with select organizations to develop case studies that are rich in experience and insight. This partnership will aid innovation-practicing firms help raise standards across the industry spectrum, continuing to excel and transition from best practice to next practice. At the same time, innovation-seeking firms are able to embrace tried and tested methods for improvement, innovation and growth – consequently applying best practices. This effort will also aid the further enhancement of the STEP program.
- Azad Singh BALI
- Dr Florence MWAGWABI
- Associate Professor Christopher VAS
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