Developing Strategic Leadership and Innovation Capability for Manufacturing SMEs Transitioning to Digital Manufacturing Technology

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Leadership Styles, Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship in the Era of Digitalization, 2019
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Strategic leadership and the development of innovation capability is of critical importance for product design and manufacturing as emerging digital technologies increasingly challenge conventional practice. This chapter presents research intended to provide manufacturing SMEs and product designers with an understanding of the complexities associated with the introduction of advanced manufacturing technologies as part of the transition to Industry 4.0. An included case study describes a university-industry collaboration design project articulating product designs role in developing strategic leadership and innovation capability for SMEs in an era of digitalisation. The chapter provides tangible ways forward for manufacturing SMEs transitioning to additive manufacturing (AM) technology, operationalising a combination of theoretical positions proposed in academic discourse. These include the need to adopt empowering leadership styles, the value of collective entrepreneurship, and the nature of creative process engagement for the generation of ideas and alternatives for AM transition.
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