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Proceedings of PICMET '15: Management of the Technology Age

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Technological innovations, Communication & technology, Diffusion of innovations, Developing countries


The national laboratories in countries that are latecomers to advanced technological development are considered a significant source of scientific knowledge and technology for local industries that the national government deems strategic and for developing the country’s infrastructure. This knowledge comes from both inside and outside the national laboratories. We investigate the relative impact of internal and external sources of knowledge on the performance of the national laboratories of a rapidly developing country, whose stated missions are 1) satisfying the needs of targeted local technology users; 2) commercialization of technology; and 3) developing a long-term R&D capability for the country. We conduct a survey-based study, which covers 208 recently completed R&D projects that span three industries: biotechnology; electronics and computers; materials and nanomaterials. Our study finds that, regardless of mission, knowledge from external sources impacts performance more significantly than internal knowledge does. The impact on performance is greatest when knowledge from internal and external sources is used in conjunction. We consequently make the case for an open innovation policy for the national laboratories in technology latecomer countries and for implementing practices that enhance the capacity to absorb knowledge that flows into the national laboratories from external sources.


Copyright © 2015 by PICMET. Paper delivered at Portland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), 2015.



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