Identifying firms to work with to induce upgrading of industries

Businesses absorb knowlege from other businesses that are economically competent

This is a revised edition of a blog post I wrote back in 2011. When working on the improvement of innovation systems in developing countries, we have to work with firms. These firms have several roles, and there are three units of analysis: The firm is an important unit of analysis of innovative practices (product,… Continue reading Identifying firms to work with to induce upgrading of industries

Between a rock and a hard place. Sectoral vs. local approaches to private sector development

I am preparing for a presentation at a conference in May about development programmes shifting from a sectoral to a regional or local perspective. This got me thinking about these shifts in focus and why they appear. In economic development, it is often necessary to choose whether to intervene at a sectoral level, or whether… Continue reading Between a rock and a hard place. Sectoral vs. local approaches to private sector development

Significance over scale when selecting sectors

When promoting territorial economic development from an innovation systems perspective it is important to find ways of increasing the use of knowledge and innovation in the region. However, in mainstream economic development there is a tendency to target the private sector based on scale. This means that practitioners look at quantitative measures such as jobs, numbers of… Continue reading Significance over scale when selecting sectors

Series: Building technological capability

In the next few posts I will focus on building technological capability in developing countries. I am specifically thinking of Sub-Saharan Africa as I write these posts, but I am sure that some of the ideas will be relevant to my colleagues working in other parts of the world. What do I mean with technological… Continue reading Series: Building technological capability

Promoting sectoral innovation systems

I am receiving more requests for support to diagnose and improve innovation systems than ever before. It’s just been a few years since I have decided to focus all my attention at working with the upgrading of regions and industries from an innovation systems perspective and I am pleased that this decision is working out.… Continue reading Promoting sectoral innovation systems

Preparing for a different manufacturing future

In Africa, we face the challenge of a manufacturing sector that often manufactures products in low volumes. In a country like South Africa, we manufacture a wide range of products but often at low scale. Even our manufacturers that manufacture in larger volumes are still small compared to European or Asian competitors. In some parts… Continue reading Preparing for a different manufacturing future

Building institutions that supports knowledge flows to industry

It sounds like a cliche to state that manufacturing has changed a lot in the last 30 years. Yet people often say this without thinking of how it has changed. It is not just about the size of our manufacturers, or the increased competition from Asia or elsewhere. It is also not about the sophisticated… Continue reading Building institutions that supports knowledge flows to industry

Moving from generic to specific and then onto systemic

When working with development organizations in the mesolevel we often find that their programmes are very generic. The same can be said of the findings of many diagnosis. The result is that firms do not really use the services of these organizations, because the value add and the impact of the services are not really… Continue reading Moving from generic to specific and then onto systemic

Help – the industry I am working with is uncompetitive and many do not care

In most strategic management textbooks 4 generic factors are identified that can be used to build competitive advantage: efficiency, quality, innovation and customer responsiveness. These four factors are highly interrelated, as an improvement in customer responsiveness for instance could result in improved quality and better efficiencies. By addressing these four factors a business can reduce… Continue reading Help – the industry I am working with is uncompetitive and many do not care

Supporting business that creates wealth and growth should be our main priority

I see that in the USA there is a similar debate as here in South Africa about whether government should support small firms or growing firms. Andrew Hargadon wrote a brilliant post on the debate that was brought to my attention by Tim Kastelle. Hargadon argues that hindsight is often mistaken for foresight. He explains… Continue reading Supporting business that creates wealth and growth should be our main priority