We are at a turning point in history, where the transformation of the economy towards sustainable moments are imperative. Of course, to make sustainable development possible, in addition to bold government initiatives, it requires good levels of technology and innovation to support this transition.
Significant efforts have been made in recent years to boost technological knowledge and innovation, both at national and European level.
We will examine how Innovation Clusters contribute to the above. Then, we will explore what is an innovation park and its contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship.
What is innovation?
By definition, innovation is the process of transforming a new idea into a marketable product or service, or the development of new or improved processes.
With innovation we do not define an invention or the application of new technologies, but the overall processes from start to finish. Innovation starts from the first moment of the conception of an innovative idea, continues throughout all efforts made to make its technical implementation possible. The final step is its application or commercial exploitation.
Based on the above, innovation includes a chain of actions that, in addition to knowledge, also require the cooperation of various specialties to make it possible. Unfortunately, there are many factors that affect innovative performance both at the national (eg infrastructure) and at the corporate level (eg size, lack of funding, fear of failure, etc.).
The correlation of company sizes and innovation
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are a key feature of the modern economy and society’s structure. Their contribution to economic development, production and employment is extremely important since they constitute the majority of businesses.
Inside the European Union, SMEs represent 99.8% of all businesses, while they employ approximately 67% of the total workforce. Likewise, the vast majority of businesses operating in the country are small family businesses employing up to 10 people.
Unfortunately, SMEs’ small size is usually associated with a lack of sufficient resources that hinder business growth. For this reason, they cannot easily meet the demands of an internationalized and competitive environment. To do this they should focus on specialization, continuous improvement and differentiation of their products from the competition, better technology utilization, and finally creating a wider network of cooperation.
Small business networking and the creation of innovation clusters can help small firms leverage the benefits of their small size and operate on a larger scale. Thus, they manage to join forces, save resources and achieve economies of scale. One such cooperative formation is the innovation park. Thus, they manage to join forces, save resources and achieve economies of scale. One such cooperative formation is the innovation park.
What exactly is an innovation park?
An innovation park is first of all an interdisciplinary community of professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs who make up a collaborative and pioneering ecosystem to promote technology and innovative thinking. In innovation parks, innovation is open and accessible to all, while it creates the right conditions for knowledge sharing and progress acceleration to flourish.
The existence of such an innovation park offers multiple benefits to the local economy and society. It becomes a pole of attraction for professional as well as for cultural reasons. For starters, it significantly enhances social cohesion as it creates high value added employment opportunities in the local community. Further, it reduces internal migration to the big cities and attract professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs to the wider region.
But an innovation park is more than just a collaboration space. It is living lab which combines work, research, learning, culture and entertainment. The interactions created in such a space can lead to new ways of thinking, new forms of cooperation and inspire the new generation.
The benefits of an innovation park
An innovation park can be a professional home for start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses, a professional space for freelancers, or a researcher’s lab.
The services and features offered by such a cooperative formation significantly strengthen its members as they:
- Benefit from reduced operating costs,
- receive the equipment and infrastructure they need,
- have access to a broad research and innovation network interconnected with academic institutions;
- interact and collaborate with other businesses,
- have access to counseling and mentoring services among others.
If you want to become part of the JOIST community do not hesitate to contact us.