Survey Report on the Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries

A pioneering survey was published by TMCD on the origin and diffusion of innovation within and to low income countries (LICs).

For this survey, Professor Xiaolan Fu and her team gathered data from more than 500 formal and informal firms from across Ghana, sampling businesses in a large variety of industries to investigate the determinants of innovation in firms under institutional and resource constraints, and how innovation is transmitted in these contexts. A video has been released highlighting some aspects of this research. The full report sheds further light on a variety of issues.

For one, it is very clear that a lot of innovation activities take place in LICs, both across sectors and industries. Many of these innovations are incremental in nature and mostly for the base of the development pyramid. Innovation, the report thus finds, is “a means for development and not the outcome of development”.

The report further investigated how the firms acquired knowledge, which factors drove innovation, and how collaboration for innovation was structured. In addition, it identified key bottlenecks to furthering innovation. It also found that while the government was regarded as an important innovation partner, innovation efforts within the firms are largely unsupported.

This survey is unique not only for LICs but also for middle and high income countries, where innovation transmission mechanisms have received insufficient attention. This report contributes greatly to our knowledge about how innovation works in low income countries, and outlines key issues to be considered by policymakers interested in encouraging innovation.

The survey falls under the umbrella of the Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) project, an ESRC-DFID funded research project involving a team of investigators and advisors from various universities and international organisations in Europe and Africa led by Prof Xiaolan Fu at the University of Oxford (UK).

To see the full report, click here.