The Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) Survey Report

For countries at the bottom of the development pyramid, technological innovation is decisive for industrialisation and catch-up. Technological innovation has, however, been traditionally concentrated in a few developed countries, given the costs and risks involved in fomenting technological innovation. Foreign sources of technology account for a large part of productivity growth in most countries. Therefore the development process in low income countries (LICs) can be supported by tapping existing knowledge and know-how. The transfer, adoption and adaptation of knowledge to LICs hence constitute an important issue for economic growth and global development. Innovative capacity in LICs is, however, critical for the successful transfer and adaptation of knowledge. Yet several constraints and obstacles prevent firms from innovating. Addressing these constraints, to build functional innovation systems and enhance innovative capacity, is fundamental to socio-economic development in LICs.

The DILIC survey of the diffusion of innovation in Ghana is the first survey in LICs dedicated to the origin and diffusion of innovation within and to these countries. The unique design of the survey provided unprecedented insights into the transmission mechanisms of innovation, expanding our understanding and going beyond the traditional input and output indicators. Such a survey is not only vi unique for LICs but also for middle and high income countries, where transmission mechanisms have not been receiving the attention the issue deserves. This carefully designed pioneering survey offers distinctive evidence on the form and nature of innovations in the LICs context, the origins and the effective channels for the diffusion of innovation within the country and from foreign sources to these countries, the barriers to innovation creation and diffusion, and the space for innovation policy in these economies.