Sustainable Innovation Model for Science and Technology-Based SMEs: Evidence from China

Liuyi Zhang, Pujun Chen, Xiaohuan Lv


This study proposes a sustainable innovation model for science and technology-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) using grounded theory in the Chinese context. Five SMEs, referred to as ‘science and technology small giants’, were chosen as sampling cases to gather information for the grounding procedure to provide insights into successful science and technology-based SMEs. The model illustrates possible development paths for science and technology-based SMEs seeking to progress towards sustainable innovation and is potentially generalisable to SMEs in other industries, offering empirical insights to corresponding enterprises that seek innovative enhancement especially in developing countries. The results suggest that the innovation team, innovation principles, and an innovation base are indispensable elements to consider. Building teams with innovative human resources under the guidance of a clear system of principles can largely maximise the efficiency of creative talent and thus advance continuous innovation outcomes. An innovation base is also indispensable to reduce primary defects in initial investment, networking, supply chains, and market reputation.

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