This paper aims to explore the role of stakeholder engagement in the link between innovativeness and the final innovation outcome (i.e. innovative products) in the case of SMEs in the beverage sector. Four case studies based on small, family owned Italian producers of alcoholic beverages explore to what extent the concept of radical or incremental innovation might be applied to the context of new drinks and the role of internal stakeholders. In particular, our study reveals the resources and innovativeness patterns that should be fostered in order to generate the desired innovation outcomes in the alcoholic beverage sector, in terms of new drinks. Particularly in the context of SMEs that use local ingredients, local branding and local manufacture, innovation management would benefit from a stronger engagement with stakeholders, which is still underestimated by the current innovation culture.
- MGMT Marketing and Consumption
- Innovation management
- Family owned, Entrepreneurship
- Stakeholder engagement; New product development (NPD)