Open Workshop by Professor Lynn Martin: Exploring Innovation in Small Firms

Friday, September 21, 2018, 15:00 – 17:00
SSE Riga, Room 403

The aim of the Open Workshop Series in Business and Management Studies is to promote top-quality academic and applied research in various fields of the social sciences. This is a unique opportunity for sharing knowledge and networking with local and international community members.

Speaker: Professor Lynn Martin, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

How is innovation enacted in small firms? While there are many studies of start up innovation and of the corporate routes to innovation, the established small firm context receives less attention. As a context, the most effective small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have a track record of innovation and internationalisation (Love and Roper, 2013). In response to a challenging, competitive environment, these small firms are “particularly dependent on research activities and on developing new products to be successful” (Leithold et al, 2016, 5; O’Dwyer and Gilmore, 2017). Around half of all UK SMEs are innovative compared to over two thirds of large firms (DBEIS, 2018), fewer are directly involved in new product development.  

This may be due to caution on the part of those leading enterprises.  There are poor results for NPD investment, given that “only about 14% of ideas that enter the new product development process are commercially successful” (Cormican and O’Sullivan, 2004, 820).  This talk explores recent studies in this area, discussing how exploration was carried out through participant observation, semi structured interviews and document review and identifying the impact of legitimacy and identity in accessing resources and gaining markets.

Professor Lynn Martin PhD has an international profile in research and knowledge exchange for  entrepreneurship, innovation and business growth, with a long track record in applying this through successful interventions to support digitisation and growth in start-ups and small firms. Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University since June 2017, she has a long track record in publications and income generation to support research and knowledge exchange. Her focus is interdisciplinary, linking entrepreneurship with Science & Engineering and with Art & Design. Her PhD (University of Warwick, 2000) focused on Human Capital Formation in small firms. This was a large-scale qualitative longitudinal study of small firm owner-managers and their development of businesses and employees, their capabilities and their approach to business opportunities. 

Following this, her research has focused on entrepreneurship in the content of business growth and innovation, often related to new technologies and sometimes women business owners. She has published over 60 refereed journal articles, chapters and reports and is a frequent invited speaker at national and international events  

Creating and maintaining successful external partnerships with large corporates, with policy and regional bodies and with small firms are key aspects of her role, e.g., she was Academic Director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme from 2010-2016. She has extensive experience with European projects and with other funding from the private sector and research councils.  

She has served on academic and private sector boards, as a member and as President of the Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship and Vice Chair Academic of the Chartered Association of Business Schools Small Business Charter Mark Board. She was awarded a Fellowship from the Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship to add to her RSA Fellowship in recognition of her small business work.  She has a long track record in developing technology with small firms to improve their performance, growth and operations. A serial entrepreneur, she is currently a Non-executive Director for two services firms in London and she also mentors 3 high technology firms in Manchester.  

Discussion moderated by Dr. Arnis Sauka. Attendace is free of charge.

Please sign up for the seminar, writing to by September 19, 2018.

The aim of the SSE Riga Open Workshop Series is to:

  • Foster cooperation between business and management researchers, practitioners and policy makers, as well as
  • to promote academic and applied research in various fields of the social sciences, focusing on but not limited to entrepreneurship, marketing, management, public administration and strategy.

Organised by the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga.


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Arnis Sauka
Professor. Head of the Centre for Sustainable Business. EMBA Course: Research Methods. Read More
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