April 20, 2006

Research on technology economic development – Please help!

I’ve gotten involved in some pro bono research and education, and I’d appreciate whatever help my friends in the industry can provide.

The project is: I want to offer pithy advice to developing countries that seek to strengthen their technology industries. Major subjects include:

• What kind of policies should they adopt (and avoid!) to foster development?
• What sectors should they emphasize or even try to prosper in, given their present starting conditions?

I was inspired to pursue this by – and intend to present preliminary results at– a panel I’m running on May 21 at the TECHLEB|06 conference in Cambridge, MA. So that’s my deadline for finishing Phase 1 of the project.

How you can help

I’d appreciate your thoughts in any format – email, phone call, comment to this blog post, whatever – on questions like these, for any developing country you have familiarity with:

• If the country has had well-run tech companies that failed to prosper, why did they fail?
• If the country has had tech companies that succeeded but probably would have failed in many other developing countries, what were the differences among countries that seem to have allowed success?
• Were there any events or particular developments that seem to have made a big difference in starting or stopping tech industry success? Which government policies, if any, were a big help or hindrance?
• What is the availability of educated people? Academic/technical training? Tech industry experience? In what respects is that adequate/inadequate?
• Same questions – physical and logistical infrastructure.
• What else should I be asking?

In all cases, it would be very helpful to note which sectors(s) of technology you’re talking about, because different countries have succeeded in different ones. For example, India started out with professional services companies, while Taiwan succeeded primarily in electronics manufacturing and assembly. And mainland East Asia’s successes (domestic Chinese companies somewhat excepted) seem to be mainly in branches and satellite operations of large global tech companies. Israel’s tech industry, perhaps even more than the US’, seems driven heavily by defense spinoffs, and is divided across a variety of electronics sectors accordingly.

And if you have insight into biotech or other fast-growing areas, that would be phenomenal too.

I’ll put my own preliminary thoughts in another post. Watch the comments section to this one for a trackback!


3 Responses to “Research on technology economic development – Please help!”

  1. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Keys to technology-driven economic development, Part 1 on May 3rd, 2006 3:38 am

    […] In connection with a forthcoming panel for the TechLeb conference, I posed some basic questions about tech industry economic development, and promised to also take a crack at them myself. […]

  2. rob finn on June 5th, 2006 10:43 pm

    Have you considered speaking with Lester Thurow?

  3. Curt Monash on June 7th, 2006 2:32 am

    I met Lester Thurow once in my life, approximately a quarter-century ago, for little more than a grip-and-grin.

    Contacting him now didn’t cross my mind.


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