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Impact of technology and innovation advisory services

Nesta Working Paper 13/19

Issued: July 2014

JEL Classification: O38

Keywords: technology advisory services, extension services, evaluation, innovation policy

This report identifies and reviews literature that evaluates the impacts of technology and innovation advisory services. These services provide information, technical assistance, consulting, mentoring, and other services to support enterprises in adopting and deploying new technologies and in commercialising innovations. Examples include the: Manufacturing Advisory Service (UK), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (USA), and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (Canada).

Technology and innovation advisory services are also provided by technology centres and other business assistance programmes. Such services are typically targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises. A defining capability of technology and innovation advisory services is the offer of expert one-on-one guidance to individual companies through extension staff, field offices, or dispersed technology centres. The available studies generally find that technology and innovation advisory services provide positive benefits for participating firms.

The types of benefits achieved include reductions in costs, improved quality, reduced waste and improved environmental performance, higher productivity, and new product development and innovation. Net benefits achieved are typically relatively modest, although commensurate with the relatively small amounts of public funding usually invested in technology and innovation advisory services. More intense and customised services can improve results.

Applying best practices in the operation and delivery of technology and innovation services, including attention to outreach, staff capability, long-term engagement, flexibility, organisational stability, and linkage with other services, increases the likelihood of programme effectiveness and impact.

Authors

Philip Shapira and Jan Youtie

The Nesta Working Paper Series is intended to make available early results of research undertaken or supported by Nesta and its partners in order to elicit comments and suggestions for revisions and to encourage discussion and further debate prior to publication (ISSN 2050-9820). The views expressed in this working paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Nesta.