Innovation og vækst på landet: Hvad karakteriserer virksomheder, der deltager i fødevarenetværk?

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This report reveals findings from descriptive analyses of three food networks in rural Denmark with the aim to contribute to the understanding of the approach to innovation and growth in the participating network companies. What charac-teristics do the participating companies in food networks have in relation to innovation and growth? How can growth be understood in these companies? How do they approach innovation and learning? What connections to collabo-ration partners do these networking companies have? How are they embedded in economic systems, social and physical space? How is this enabled by per-sonal preferences and organizational culture? And what would they like to gain by the collaboration in the network? Through analyses of these questions the aim is to reveal characteristics of these networking companies in the food sector. The characteristics can be used for further development and understand-ing of how organizing processes can enable innovation and growth.

The descriptive analyses are based on data from an on-line questionnaire in three food networks called: Sønderjyske Madglæder, Vadehavsprodukter and Småøernes Fødevarenetværk in the period April to May 2009. All in all 93 food producing companies participated in the three networks and 60 of them responded on the questionnaire. The data are analyzed through descriptive techniques with the aim to reveal the characteristics of issues contained in innovation and growth. The aim is further to give a contribution to the three food networks’ understanding of themselves and the innovation and growth in these networks. The data are computed through statistical analysis of mean, standard deviation and correlations in the responses in the different areas. Supplementary qualitative comments from the respondents are also employed.

The findings reveal a considerable growth in these network companies. Despite of the financial crisis they still have confidence and dedication to future growth. They are generally embedded in economical, social and physical spaces in the rural areas. The majority of companies have many important collaboration partners – however, some do not have collaboration partners. The owners of the participating companies are generally outgoing and positive. The organizational culture is characterized through new ideas coming from management, a positive mood is aimed in the company, actions are done fast, telling openly about their company, focusing product and process quality. In the learning field they prefer reflection and observation with action as an uncorrelated element. At the moment, innovation is primarily focused on development of new products and is executed in a spontaneous way through ‘the good idea’. In the future much more emphasis is on process innovation and systematic innovation.

This change in innovation content is considerable and is anticipated to chal-lenge the networking companies in the future. In the network they want to work with many issues. Innovation ranks high on the list of future initiatives.

Therefore, interesting research can be undertaken in these food networks in relation to their innovation and growth potential. It is important to reveal the characteristics of the companies because their commonalities can be used for identity building. Further it will be very useful to reveal their differences for elaboration in the network. A multitude of characteristic boundaries emerge, which can be both an asset and a liability for the network participants depen-dent on how they can utilize the organizing aspect of these boundaries in their collaboration. The organizing process between new ideas and control of per-formance in an innovation is a transformation process. The commonalities can support and differences can enrich the organizing for innovation. Therefore, discussions of both commonalities and differences provide the platform to enable innovation and growth. This report is a contribution to these discussions in the networks for self-organizing of their innovation and growth.

ForlagSyddansk Universitet. Institut for Forskning og Udvikling i Landdistrikter
Antal sider101
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-91304-45-3
StatusUdgivet - 2010
NavnCLF Report


  • Innovation, vækst, SMV, netværk, organisering