New models of space and innovation have suggested that firms, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can obtain and develop new knowledge by participating in conferences. However, there is no systematic empirical evidence thus far to support this suggestion. Drawing on interactive models of innovation and theory on temporary space, we develop the hypothesis that an SME’s conference participation affects its innovative performance. Using a dataset for a representative sample of 344 high-technology SMEs from the electronics industry over a period of 23 years, we found that participation in conferences that vary in terms of scientific discipline and location can predict SMEs’ innovative performance. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.
Vlasov, S. A., Bahlmann, M. D., & Knoben, J. (2017). A study of how diversity in conference participation relates to SMEs’ innovative performance. Journal of Economic Geography, 17(1), 191-216. https://doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbw004