This paper presents a series of case studies in the UK food and drink industry, undertaken under the aegis of the UK Government's Foresight Programme, which show the many and varied ways in which firms have been innovative in their use of technology. The sector is characterised with low research and development expenditure but it is apparent that there are many ways in which firms are being effective innovators that do not involve having dedicated R&D resources. The aim of the Foresight Programme is to highlight such activity and use ''good practice'' models to encourage more innovation and uptake of technology across this, and other sectors of the UK economy. The conclusions from the current paper are that there are potentially many positive returns from looking beyond the firm for answers and to seeking out support for innovation from non-commercial organisations such as universities and research institutions, regardless of the source of the driver for innovation. However, what is central to the success of such activity is the existence of a culture of innovation and support mechanisms and structures to encourage it within a long-term strategy.
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