What is the relationship between technological innovation, entrepreneurship and development? Is it better for developing countries to adapt existing technologies from richer countries rather than undertake or promote intensive research and development (R&D) of their own?
Novelty and New Gadgets
Technologies are ‘rules and ideas that direct the way goods and services are produced’.1 Technological inventions are new rules and ideas about what to produce and how to do it. Technological innovations result when new rules and ideas find practical use through being applied and/or commercialized by entrepreneurs.
Technological innovation contributes to higher levels of economic output and can deliver new goods and services that change human lives and capabilities. According to Lipsey et al:
People living in the first decade of the twentieth century did not know modern dental and medical equipment, penicillin, bypass operations, safe births, control of genetically transmitted diseases, personal computers, compact discs, television sets, automobiles, opportunities for fast and cheap worldwide travel, affordable universities, central heating, air conditioning…technological change has transformed the quality of our lives.2
Today we live in a technological ‘age’ and global economy where competition has become knowledge-based. In modern theories of growth and development technological innovation has taken the centre stage. Our love for novelty and new gadgets is thus based on practical and theoretical foundations. Moreover, there is growing interest in the relationship between technological innovation (and entrepreneurship) and how it can promote global growth and development.