Innovation in the forest products industry: an analysis of companies in Alaska and Oregon.
|Authors:||Abra Hovgaard, Eric Hansen, Joseph Roos|
|Type:||General Technical Report|
|Station:||Pacific Northwest Research Station|
|Source:||Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-629. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 53 p|
AbstractBecause there is a lack of innovation research in the forest products industry and innovative activities in the industry are not well documented, this study attempted to fill that void. The objectives of this study were to understand the process and definition of innovation in the forest products industry, identify the constraints on innovative activities, identify resources that would improve innovation in forest products companies, compare the innovation environments in Alaska and Oregon, and provide a benchmark study for innovation in the forest products industry.
This study revealed that there are several aspects of innovation in the forest products industry. In addition, the innovation process is a combination of semiformal development stages, trial and error, intuition, and luck. A variety of factors constrained companies from being more innovative, including government regulations, shipping and labor costs, lack of cash flow, raw material characteristics, marketing expertise, and raw material supply. There do not appear to be any resources that would be helpful to forest products companies, at least none that the interviewed companies could recommend. Offering companies the chance to exchange ideas and network is the most valuable resource available.
The innovation environments in Alaska and Oregon are somewhat similar yet different in the marketing tactics employed and the techniques used to obtain market information.
Furthermore, the type of innovation projects that each region focuses on differs, as does the actual process used to develop innovations. Future research should focus on completing a quantitative component to this study, developing short courses or 1-day seminars, identifying factors that contribute to innovation success and failure, investigating why the forest products industry is not innovative by nature, and exploring the external acquisition of innovation in the forest products industry.