11.1.5 Case study


X is a small company of the area of Cinco Villas (Zaragoza – Spain) that works in the field of the production of composts. The company collects the wastes generated in the farms, converts them into composts and sell it as fertilizer to the area farms again.

The objective of the company is double:

  1. To manage the wastes generated in the farms and
  2. To recycle these wastes converting them in fertilizer for the same farms.

From the beginning innovation has been a core topic for the company management staff, but two are the main issues that hinder the innovation process: the size of the company and the geographical situation.

At this point, networking could be a solution to improve an innovative policy in the company. But what is the status of networking for this company?

Currently, the company doesn’t participate in any networking activities, neither with other companies nor with other organism that support the innovation or/and the development of the main company’s activities.

Some reasons pointed out by the company’s manager are:

  • Lack of staff (they are only 6 people in the company) and lack of time;
  • Lack the skills and competences for collaborating;
  • Difficulties for financing;
  • There is not a collaborative culture in the area;
  • Lack of information from other organisms (university, Technological Transference Offices, other institutions that work in the area of the business promotion).
  • Bureaucratic processes;
  • The ignorance in relation to the different collaboration forms.

In the last two years, the manager and the laboratory technician have participated in different seminars (on their own initiative) about cooperation with other organisations for improving companies’ environment and innovation. But the experiences have not been positives. After the meetings, they didn’t found facilities for starting a collaborating structure.

However, something has changed regarding to the information. Nowadays, several organisations send practical free information about innovation and it specially facilitates the “technological watching”.

Any case, the company thinks that networking could be positive if some measures are encouraged, such as the following:

  • More (and better) relations between the companies and other bodies that promote innovations (as universities and technological transference offices);
  • More instruments that facilitate the creation and working of this networks (as less bureaucracy, more workshops to put in contact the different organisms, financial support, training …);
  • To facilitate the participation (considering the size of the companies and the characteristics of their human resources);
  • To develop tools that promote and facilitate communication;
  • To encourage the participation of the companies (specially the small ones) in this networks;
  • To promote informal cooperation areas.

Networking is a useful process to promote the innovation in the small companies, but information and tools are necessaries for supporting these organisation.