Based on a random sample of 500 South Yorkshire non-hi-tech manufacturing small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the quantitative findings support the hypothesis that size, strategic, and market orientation associate with innovation. The results show that prospectors are medium-sized companies and small companies, defenders. Prospectors are more innovative and market-oriented than defenders. The findings reveal that to succeed in an intense competitive environment, non-hi-tech manufacturing SMEs have to be proactive toward market opportunities, receptive to innovation and take the lead in new product innovation. However, their weaknesses include a lack of flexibility, a partial open culture and an organizational structure that impedes sustained innovation. This study addresses a gap in the literature, by linking innovation to the strategic orientation of the firm instead of examining firms' specific characteristics or the effects of external environment and structural factors. The research focuses on non-hi-tech manufacturing SMEs. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.