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5.2 ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS
Drawing on insider research with a three-year EU network created to support innovation in geographically marginalized traditional food companies, this paper makes three contributions to discussions of innovation in small and micro-firms. First, we shift focus away from conceiving of knowledge as a discrete entity, and of knowledge sharing, transfer and exchange as the passing of objects. Applying a practice perspective that conceptualizes innovation as situated in the everyday activities of organizing, learning and working, we extend open innovation ideas and identify three distinct sets of knowledge-creating practices that small and micro-firm actors in this network context engage in as they interact: seek-and-take, peer exploration and critical reflection. Second, we integrate these practices into a model that suggests how different kinds of knowledge boundary (entitative, epistemic, pragmatic and existential) are differently traversed by these practices, with more complex boundaries benefitting from a practice approach. Third, we refine a practical approach for policy interventions designed to stimulate small and micro-firm innovation. The relevance of our contribution lies in the significance of small firms within peripheral economies, and the particular challenges they face in accessing new knowledge for innovation.
Rigg, C., Coughlan, P. & O'Leary, D. (2021). A Practice Perspective on Knowledge, Learning and Innovation – Insights From an EU Network of Small Food Producers. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, vol. 33, no. 7–8, pg. 621–640 doi:10.1080/08985626.2021.1877832