Innovation in developing countries : a case study of Ecuador and its new innovation initiatives
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Ecuador declared 2015 to be the “year of innovation” and is investing greatly in innovation initiatives to attract existing, international technology to Ecuador as well as improve research and development to create new, domestic technologies. This is significant, because discussion on innovation initiatives in developing countries primarily focuses on the transfer of existing technologies (international technology transfer) to countries even though developing countries, such as Ecuador, are now also focused on creating new technologies (domestic technology transfer). This report assesses the Ecuadorian case, which may inform other developing countries that are also incorporating hybrid innovation strategies. This report shows that the three challenges to innovation in developing countries are policy, innovation systems, and talent. While Ecuador has an ambitious vision, the country faces challenges in moving innovation from a plan to a reality. As the Ecuadorian case emerges, the author recommends that developing countries refrain from enacting one-size-fits-all innovation strategies, take advantage of existing resources at the regional level, and significantly invest in capacity building programs over infrastructure projects. This report combines over 30 in-country interviews with professionals involved with the national innovation system, a survey of relevant literature on innovation initiatives in developing countries, and an evaluation of Ecuador’s new innovation policy and program documents. Additionally, as a research assistant for IC2 Institute, a think and do tank that supports the development of innovation, the author adds her perspective on programmatic experience in other countries.