The fast-changing scenario related to the COVID-19 pandemic calls for firms to rapidly redefine and innovate their strategies to sustain their businesses, with research emphasizing the key roles of digital technologies and servitization. We aim to enrich the theoretical debate on this matter by assessing how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) achieve product innovation under time constraints by leveraging two specific technology groups (information and communication technologies [ICT] and Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies) and servitization. The research is based on a mixed-method approach consisting of an original survey completed by 257 Italian SMEs (grounded on a previous qualitative study about such SMEs' behaviors during the first Italian lockdown), followed by in-depth interviews with the owners and/or managers of the eight SMEs that participated in the survey. The results show a positive relationship between the increased use of digital technologies (ICT and Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies) during the pandemic with servitization and, in turn, with product innovation. Specifically, the increased use of ICT during the pandemic had a direct positive effect on product innovation, while Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies affected product innovation only through the full mediation of servitization. The qualitative study allowed us to highlight how the different kinds of digital technologies supported SMEs’ innovation (servitization and product innovation) during the pandemic. The theoretical and practical contributions of this study are discussed.

Overcoming pandemic challenges through product innovation: The role of digital technologies and servitization

Capestro M.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The fast-changing scenario related to the COVID-19 pandemic calls for firms to rapidly redefine and innovate their strategies to sustain their businesses, with research emphasizing the key roles of digital technologies and servitization. We aim to enrich the theoretical debate on this matter by assessing how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) achieve product innovation under time constraints by leveraging two specific technology groups (information and communication technologies [ICT] and Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies) and servitization. The research is based on a mixed-method approach consisting of an original survey completed by 257 Italian SMEs (grounded on a previous qualitative study about such SMEs' behaviors during the first Italian lockdown), followed by in-depth interviews with the owners and/or managers of the eight SMEs that participated in the survey. The results show a positive relationship between the increased use of digital technologies (ICT and Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies) during the pandemic with servitization and, in turn, with product innovation. Specifically, the increased use of ICT during the pandemic had a direct positive effect on product innovation, while Industry 4.0 data-processing technologies affected product innovation only through the full mediation of servitization. The qualitative study allowed us to highlight how the different kinds of digital technologies supported SMEs’ innovation (servitization and product innovation) during the pandemic. The theoretical and practical contributions of this study are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1497098
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