Productivity & Innovation

Economic growth results from a combination of new and improved investments. However the evidence is unambiguous on the relative contribution of these two factors. The primary driver of economic growth is the improvement in technology, and this largely results from structured programmes of innovation.

Technological change not only results in more output, but also different types of output; it also involves different inputs into production. So the direction of innovation is a critical determinant into the character of growth and hence in the extent of social inclusion.

But not all innovations are of the same weight. Some occur within small confines of the production process; others at the level of the firm or farm; yet others in the sector and in the region. In historically significant cases, a few transformative technologies sweep through the world and penetrate and define virtually all spheres of economy and society. Chris Freeman and Carlota Perez have made the useful distinction in understanding these differences. They distinguish incremental changes (minor changes in technology and procedures), radical changes (for example, synthetic chemicals), changes in systems (for example chemicals and biotechnology which affect a range of related sectors) and transformative changes, which I refer to as heartland technologies. These disruptive heartland technologies result in social and economic transformation and have determining impacts on the environment.

The articles below reflect my contribution to the understanding of the range of these different innovations. There is a consistent theme to this work – the directionality of innovation and technological progress and the implications these have for inclusive and sustainable development. In the list of publications below I highlight what I consider to be my significant contributions to this agenda.


Sustainable Futures – An Agenda for Action, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2021

‘Inclusive innovation: an architecture for policy development’, Innovation and Development Vol. 4 (1) DOI: 10.1080/2157930X.2013.876800, 2014 (with J. Chataway and R. Hanlin.

’Innovation and Uneven Development – The Challenge for Low- and Middle-Income Economies, Research Policy, 2021. (with E.Kraemer-Mbula)

‘Technological Upgrading in Global Value Chains and Clusters and their Contribution to Sustaining Economic Growth in Low and Middle Income Economies’, Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development Working Paper Series, WP 03/2015. Vienna: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 2015.

‘Innovation, Poverty and Inequality: Cause, Coincidence, or Co-evolution?’, in Lundvall, B-A; J K Joseph, C. Chaminade and J. Vang (eds.), Handbook of Innovation Systems and Developing Countries. Building Domestic Capabilities in a Global Context, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009 (with S. E. Cozzens)

Developing Industrial Clusters and Supply Chains to Support Diversification and Sustainable Development of Exports in Africa, Cairo: African Export Import Bank, 2014 (with M. Morris).

‘The Role of Standards in Global Value Chains and their Impact on Economic and Social Upgrading, Policy Research Working Paper 5396, Washington: World Bank, 2010.

Upgrading strategies in global furniture value chains, UNIDO Research and Statistics Branch, Working Paper 09/2008, UNIDO: Vienna, 2009 (with J. Readman and O. Memodovic).

Integrating SMEs in Global Value Chains: Towards Partnership for Development, Vienna: UNIDO (2001 (with J. Readman).

The use of a lean production index in explaining the transition to global competitiveness: the auto components sector in South `Africa’, Technovation 24,  pp. 199-206, 2004 (with Sakura Kojima).

‘Developing capability through learning networks’, International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp 19-38, 2003 (with J. Bessant and M. Morris).

‘Putting supply chain learning into practice’, International Journal of Production Management, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp167-184, 2003 (with J. Bessant and R. Lamming). (Prize for the best paper at the European Management Association’s annual meeting in Bath in 2001).

‘Developing manufacturing agility in SMEs’, International Journal of  Technology Management,  Vol. 22, No. 1, 2001 (with J. Bessant, S. Brown, D. Francis, and S. Meredith)

‘Developing the agile enterprise’, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Vol 1, No. 3, 2000 (with J. Bessant, S Brown, S Meredith),

‘Industrial Property Rights in the Uruguay Round and Beyond’, Journal of Development Studies, Vol 25 No 3, pp. 373-400, 1989.

‘Restructuring the Capitalist Labour Process: Some Lessons from the Car Industry’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol 12 No 4, pp. 451-470, 1988.

‘Crisis in the World Economy:  Some Consequences for Industrial Policy and South-South Trade in Technology’, Development and South-South Cooperation, Vol III No 5, December pp. 52-66, 1987.

‘Human Factors in the Labour Process and the International Division of Labour in Manufacturing’, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Vol 2 no 1, pp. 15-24, 1987.

‘Firm Size and Inventive Activity Reconsidered’, Journal of Industrial Economics, Vol XXXIII, No.I, pp. 39-59, 1983.

‘Technology for Sustainable Development’ in Machiko Nissanke and Jose Antonio Ocampo (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Development Economics: Critical Reflections on Globalisation and Development, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Innovation for Pro-Poor Growth: From Redistribution with Growth to Redistribution through Growth’, in G. A. Cornia and F. Stewart (eds.), Towards Human Development: New Approaches to Macroeconomics and Inequality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

‘Past innovation trajectories in Latin America and current innovation trajectories in China’ in G. Dutrénit, K. Lee, O. Vera-Cruz and R. Nelson (eds), Learning, capability building and development, EADI Global Development Series, Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 263-281, 2013.

‘The structure of supply chains and their implications for export supply’ in D. A. Ajakaiye and T. A. Ojeyide (eds.), Trade, Infrastructure and Development, London: Routledge, 2012 (with M. Morris).

‘Does Participation in Ownership Foster Participation in Continuous Improvement? The Case of Baxi Partnership’, in Europe’s Next Step: Organisational Innovation, Competition and Employment,  L. Andreasen, B. Coriat, F. den Hertog F, and R. Kaplinsky, London: Frank Cass,  1995.

‘Patients as Work in Progress: Organisational Reform in the Health Sector’ in Europe’s Next Step: Organisational Innovation, Competition and Employment,  L. Andreasen, B. Coriat, F. den Hertog F, and R. Kaplinsky, London: Frank Cass,  1995.

‘Flexible Organisation: European Industry in Transition’ (with Andreasen L, B Coriat and F den Hertog) in Europe’s Next Step: Organisational Innovation, Competition and Employment,  L. Andreasen, B. Coriat, F. den Hertog F, and R. Kaplinsky, London: Frank Cass,  1995.

‘Technology Transfer, Adaptation and Generation: A Framework for Evaluation’ in Chatterji (ed), Technology Transfer in Developing Countries, London, Macmillan, 1990.

‘Intellectual Property and International Trade’, in C. Juma and J. B. Ojwang, Innovation and Sovereignty: The Patent Debate in African Development, Nairobi, African Centre for Technology Studies, 1989.

‘Technological change: The increasing costs of ‘keeping up’ in the microelectronics era’, in C.Stoneman  (ed), Zimbabwe’s Prospects, Macmillan, 1988.

‘Choice of techniques for can making in Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand’ with C Cooper, R Bell and W Satyayakwit in A Bhalla (ed), Technology and Employment in Industry, ILO, Geneva, 1975.

‘Secondhand Equipment in Undeveloped Countries: Some Generalisations from the Kenyan Maize Bag Industry’, in Choice of Techniques and the Employment Problem in Manufacturing, A Bhalla  (ed), Technology and Employment in Industry,  ILO, Geneva, 1975 (with C Cooper).

‘The Supply of Technology, The Demand for Technology.  Some Significant Problems’, Scienza Tecnica 74, 1973.