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Evolution of systems of technology transfer in rural developing economies

Conference contribution
Authors Magnus Holmén
Daniel Ljungberg
Deycy Sanchez
Published in International Schumpeter Society Conference
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Department of Economy and Society
Language en
Subject categories Business Administration, Technology and social change

Abstract

Longitudinal studies show that technology transfer changes over time but do not systematically address how this occurs. This paper addresses the evolution of technology transfer by analyzing changes in the focal actors, their perceived problems, problem-solving activities and implemented technological and organizational solutions. Empirically, we analyze the evolution of fish and silk production in Cauca, Colombia, a rural region characterized by a low level of education. While production was initiated by national and international governments, these policy programs failed by themselves to establish technology transfer activities successfully because of governmental short sightedness, lack of producer commitment and transferor-producer arm’s length relations. Over time, interaction among producers and producer cooperatives (recipients), universities (transferors) and intermediaries created a “technology transfer system”. The creation and professionalization of the cooperatives and intermediaries were key events allowing for creating a functioning technology transfer system. The evolution of the system was largely determined by the types of problems the main actors formulated and acted upon. Major problem diversified from being technology-related, to customer, market and distribution oriented. A main organizing principle of both solving and formulating these problems consisted of projects, which means the evolution can be characterized by sequences of projects addressing specific and changing problems over time. The cases are in in line with evolutionary theorizing and the paper concludes with general lessons for technology transfer from an evolutionary perspective.

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