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Groundbreakers, Conservatives, Casuals and Traditionalists – a study of SME Market Segmentation

August 2, 2021

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A set of simple variables were identified through research that could be used to develop a modern version of the ‘innovation count’, incorporating commercialisation aspects into it. The variables were then used to produce a quality score. 

Data was collected through an online survey questionnaire across ten European countries… 


Following a lightweight clustering analysis, four segments were identified and tested. The data gathered as part of the survey was then used to create a profile of the four segments.  


  • The ‘groundbreakers’ are found to be the most innovative SMEs, producing strong, patentable IP that they successfully commercialise. They are the largest recipients of R&D incentives.  


  • The ‘conservatives’ take more calculated risks but are the most successful at introducing new business models. Their innovation is not as strong, limiting their opportunities for patenting but also to access funding, making them the most dissatisfied with government R&D funding.  


  • The ‘casuals’ undertake innovation but don’t necessarily commercialise it. They are unsure of what R&D incentives are, find them complicated and time-consuming. 


  • The ‘traditionalists’ are the lowest innovators in R&D. They innovate on an ad-hoc basis and don’t generally use either public or private R&D finance. 


August 2, 2021
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