Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Tag: innovation

    Found 8 posts.

    Can Mexico make the leap in Innovation?

    By - 5 de August de 2014, 2:52 pm


    In 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto set the very ambitious goal of increasing Mexico’s investment in Science and Technology from the current 0.4 percent to 1 percent of GDP by the end of his mandate in 2018. This commitment has generated a strong debate on what policies should be adopted to support such an extraordinary effort. In this framework, the question on what policies might work for Mexico and how their effectiveness could be measured has become more crucial than ever.

    Last June I had the opportunity and pleasure to contribute to such debate in two events organized by the Mexican Foro Consultivo Cientifico y Technologico (FCCyT) in Mexico City. The first event was a two days training on “Impact Evaluation of Science and Technology Programs” taught by Gustavo Crespi and myself. The training targeted an audience of public officials, graduate students, and academics who wanted to have a better understanding of how impact evaluation techniques can be (or have been) applied to policies aimed at promoting scientific production and business innovation. Gustavo’s and my presentations have been posted in the FCCyT website.

    The second event was a one day workshop on the evaluation of science, innovation and technology policies. Key authorities and stakeholders from the Mexican National Innovation System participated in the event and contributed to a deep and lively discussion moderated by the FCCyT’s Director Gabriela Dutrénit. The discussion included presentations by Fred Gault (UN-Merit University), Chiara Criscuolo (OECD), Ximena Usher (ANII), and other experts – including myself – and covered topics such as the measurement of the effects scientific research funding, the implementation and evaluation of business innovation support programs, and the generation and management of micro-data for impact evaluations. My personal contribution focused on the IDB experience in evaluating funding for scientific research. Because, the entire event was broadcasted live on the web, all the presentations and videos have been posted in the FCCyT website.



    Innovation policy spillover effects: the unaccounted benefits

    By and - 26 de March de 2014, 3:44 pm

    alessandro stuchi innova

    Recently the development community has talked a lot about knowledge and innovation as a key priority for the years to come, maybe induced by the lesser relevance that financial support has for many emerging countries.

    Multilateral and bilateral agencies have suddenly become knowledge banks, global practices, ideas’ generators, developers of innovation ventures, etc. In the process, a great emphasis has been placed not only on the generation of knowledge, but also on the attraction of human resources that can add something new to the skill sets.

    To use some recent words of President Yong Kimthe (World) Bank is committed to keeping all its top performers. But […] the bank will open up positions to outsiders, because it’s good to bring in fresh eyes”, and, we add, new skills. Yes, although we are the era of virtual social networking, a big chunk of knowledge is still embedded in human brains and would be difficult to acquire without bringing in new people. Read more…

    Technological Innovation Program Boosts Competitiveness in Paraguay

    By - 18 de March de 2014, 8:34 am

    By Pablo Javier Angelelli

    Up until recently, Paraguay had one of the lowest investment rates in scientific research and technological innovation of any Latin America and Caribbean country reaching to less that 0.1% of GDP. The country also lacked trained professionals to develop research activities and innovation projects.

    That is rapidly changing, however, as innovation projects funded by the country’s Science, Technology and Innovation Development Support Program begin to bear fruit. The program was carried out between 2006 and 2013 by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), with support from the IDB.

    Using the innovation funding, a team lead by Rodrigo Campos build the country’s first remote-controlled drone aircraft, which weighs about four pounds and can fly as high as 3,300 feet to perform tasks such as mapping of cities and monitoring and surveillance of cattle to prevent theft.

    Campos called the CONACYT funding “a vote of confidence” in his team, which undertook two years of research and development to complete the drone project. “This is the beginning of something that can become much bigger,” he said.

    The main goal of the CONACYT program was to increase the number of companies and universities capable of innovating and achieving technological breakthroughs. The new innovation system (SNIP by its acronym in Spanish) was designed to improve the competitiveness of key productive sectors and, as a result, foster greater economic and social development for the country as a whole.

    In all, the pioneering program financed the development of 19 innovation projects in various areas to generate new products and jobs, as well as 37 research projects to improve public health and add value to natural resources. To help fill the country’s human resource gap in high-demand fields such as science, technology, and technology management, the program financed 11 new graduate and doctoral programs and awarded some 83 scholarships to undertake specialized training courses and post-graduation courses abroad.

    The new master’s and doctoral programs include studies in Soil Science and Land Management, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Environmental Management, Computer, Biomedical Sciences, Statistics and Research Methodology among others.

    The project is improving the national research capacity by funding projects in the knowledge frontier in the region, including those to stimulate experimental studies with stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis, develop computer models to optimize the design of roads and road works, analyze the possibility of using bovine bone to develop materials that purify water for toxic metals and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic panels to maximize the amount and quality of energy generated.

    “We want to be a competitive country, and that means we need to produce better and more,” explained CONACYT President Héctor Dávalos. “To do that, we need to innovate, and to innovate we need to conduct research.”

    Is innovation a threat to employment in Latin America?

    By and - 4 de March de 2014, 6:25 am

    Joint blog post with Gustavo Crespi

    The relationship between innovation and employment has never been an easy one. For a long time innovation was seen as a potential threat to employment and economists got to the point of defining technological unemployment as a disease.

    The argument was that technological change could create unemployment through the substitution of capital for labor. The discussion has then evolved over time to take into account how different types of innovation under different market conditions may imply different effects on employment and employment composition.

    innovation employement Latin America


    For instance, process innovation can induce a substitution of capital for labor, but can also result in higher productivity, lower prices, and higher demand, which will eventually create new jobs for displaced workers (the well-known compensation effects). So, the final effects of innovation on employment depend on the balance between substitution and compensation effects.

    Few weeks ago a couple of articles by The Economist (“Coming to an office near you” and “The onrushing wave”) revamped the debate on how much employees should be concerned about new technologies pushing them out of their jobs. Although acknowledging that in the long run innovation still seems beneficial both in terms of quantity and quality of jobs, the articles report the opinion of economists (including Larry Summers), who believe that nowadays technical change is increasingly taking the form of

    capital that effectively substitutes for labor

    and that we may be facing a temporary phase of maladjustment to the productivity gains induced by the recent high paced sequence of technological changes.

    Is innovation a threat to employment in Latin America? Read more…

    Are supplier development programs effective at improving firm performance?

    By - 29 de May de 2012, 6:12 am

    supplier development programs

    In a recent paper that I wrote with Irani Arraiz and Francisca Henriquez  we find that the Chilean Supplier Development Program benefited both small and medium-sized suppliers and large firms buying their production.

    This paper is –to the best of our knowledge—the first to present results of an impact evaluation of a supplier development program in Latin America and the Caribbean. The findings in the paper are a first step to shed light on the effectiveness of this type of programs.

    This is important because the Chilean program was the basis for the design of supplier development programs in Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.

    The elimination of barriers to international trade has opened markets and created opportunities for industries to emerge in places where they would not have been able to emerge. The benefits of trade liberalization policies, however, do not come about automatically. Read more…