Research Output
Process definition for innovation in trade fairs
  A trade fair is an exhibition that allows companies to present their products to potential customers, interact with customers, conduct market research including gathering information on competitors. Trade fairs help companies and businesses to develop their marketing strategy and to innovate both their products and processes. Yet there has been little academic research on this. The aim of this thesis is to formulate a theoretical model of how trade fairs act as a medium to create innovation. Specifically academic literature will be reviewed to tease out the main constructs and identify the factors which can be utilised to generate innovation. To measure, understand how these factors interact and verify the constructs of the theoretical model, data was collected from participants at four major trade fairs held in spring 2012 at Munich, Germany. The data was collected from visitors and exhibitors by an online questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed from the literature and discussion with experts in trade fair organisation and piloted in January 2012. 1,921 visitors and exhibitors completed an online questionnaire and this represented 2.6% of clients on the database of a trade fair management company. The data was analysed using descriptive univariate and multivariate methods. This revealed several antecedents of innovation; these were number and quality of contacts, strength of relationships, degree of social networking and the ability to acquire innovation. The nature of the interaction between these variables and how they contribute to innovation was revealed by using a path modelling approach. The path model also revealed how the future success of visitors and exhibitor companies is affected by directly by innovation and indirectly by the dimensions of acquiring knowledge, social networking, creating contacts and relationship building. From this a business model was created which allowed those organising trade fairs to optimise the underlying dimensions to enhance the generation of innovation and the contribution to business success. As business becomes more global and competitive this insight into the operation of trade fairs is a major contribution to allow business to be sustainable and to grow. The work presented in this thesis is an important contribution to academic knowledge by helping to explain how intangible dimensions such as contact, relationship building and social networking can be measured, modelled and related to the process of innovation and in turn to business survival and growth.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    28 February 2013

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management


Pöllmann, M. P. Process definition for innovation in trade fairs. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Trade Fairs; innovation; customer focus; path modelling; social networking;

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