Innovation and value chains

IDS' work on innovation and value chains explores opportunities for poor people to enhance their income when businesses in developing countries participate in global value chains.

Workers on a kettle production line in a household electronics factory, producing goods for both the Chinese and export market. Guangdong Province. Credit: Mark Henley / Panos

IDS work on global value chains has explored how businesses in developing countries are increasingly tied into trans-national networks of firms that coordinate the design, production and sale of products around the world. In the past four decades there has been a significant transfer of manufacturing activities to developing countries, which has created jobs. However, to increase the benefits of participation in global value chains, firms in developing countries have to acquire the capabilities to produce more sophisticated products and take on additional functions along the value chain.

The same value chain diagnostic tools and perspectives on how firms link together to produce goods can be applied in national settings to explore how to promote business linkages and expand market opportunities for poor people.

IDS work on innovation and value chains is exploring:

Business Innovation Facility

The Business Innovation Facility (BIF) aims to catalyse market systems change in order to benefit poor producers, consumers and employees More details

Changing Knowledge Divide in the Global Economy

The question driving this project was how was the 'organisational decomposition of the innovation process' (ODIP) changing the global distribution of innovation activities. More details

Clusters in the Global Economy

While the debate on industrial clusters and local innovation systems was mainly concerned with local linkages, this work examined global linkages and how they affected local relationships. More details

Comparison of Upgrading in Global and National Value Chains

An analysis of whether firms in the Southern Brazilian clusters of the Sinos Valley (footwear) and the Serra Gaucha (furniture) show different patterns of industrial upgrading according to the global and national value chains they feed into. More details

Framework for Assessing the Impacts of Efforts to Enhance Access to Nutritious Foods

The objective of this research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition. More details

Global Brands from China?

A comparative study of the acquisition of branding capabilities in domestic and global value chains. More details

Global Power Shift and Low Carbon Transformation

Two transformations are likely to dominate the first half of the twenty-first century. One is the shift in economic power from the West (North America and Western Europe) to the East (China and the East Asian production system). The second is the transition from a high to low carbon economy. More details

Outsourcing and Innovation in the Indian Software Industry

This research investigated whether the capabilities associated with the basic 'production' of software had led to increasing 'innovation' capabilities after the turn of the millennium. More details

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change is developing a framework to analyse alternative pathways that link different forms of technological innovation, and evaluate resulting structural change and inclusion outcomes in low-income countries. More details

Policy Instruments and Public-Private Collaborations

The collaboration will assess policy approaches to economic inclusion of highly marginalised populations (displaced, indigenous, Afro-Colombian, extremely poor) in agricultural value chains in Colombia. It will focus on a key policy instrument – public-private partnerships – and on approaches that support stabilisation in post-conflict regions. More details

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Agriculture: Enabling Factors and Impact on the Rural Poor

This research will identify the key factors driving the effectivness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) at bringing sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers at scale and delivering positive development outcomes across rural communities. More details

Rent Management: the Heart of Green Industrial Policy

At the heart of green industrial policy is rent management: government creating and withdrawing opportunities for highly profitable investment. This project asks what the key factors are for rent management to succeed. More details

Research on the Poverty Impact of Market and Enabling Business Environment Programmes in Kenya

To what extent does private sector development work in Kenya contribute to a reduction in poverty and inequality? This review aims to assess the evidence base for DFID Kenya’s Wealth Creation Pillar programming. More details

SMEs, Multinational Value Chains and 'Pro-poor' Policies Review

This review examined a range of donor initiatives that adopted a value chain aproach as part of their policy package for promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises. More details

Success Factors for Lead Firms to Shape Inclusive Procurement

This consultancy examines best practices both operationally and in the literature surrounding business models from the view point of inclusivity of smallholder farmers More details

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IDS Working Paper

Global Quality Standards, Chain Governance and the Technological Upgrading of Brazilian Auto-Components Producers

IDS Working Paper 156 (2002)

This paper investigates whether and how the adoption of global quality standards (QS) changes inter-firm relationships and enhances the upgrading prospects of local producers in developing countries. More details

How Does Insertion in Global Value Chains Affect Upgrading in Industrial Clusters?

Regional Studies 36.9 (2002)

What is the scope for local upgrading strategies where producers operate in global value chains? The literature on industrial clusters emphasizes the role of inter-firm co-operation and local institutions in enabling upgrading. The value chain literature focuses on the role of global buyers and chain governance in defining upgrading opportunities. This paper argues that clusters are inserted into global value chains in different ways, and that this has consequences for enabling or disabling local-level upgrading efforts. It pays particular attention to the position of developing country firms selling to large, global buyers. More details

IDS Classics - publications from the past

Governance in Global Value Chains

IDS Bulletin 32.3 (2001)

The concept of 'governance' is central to the global value chain approach. This article explains what it means and why it matters for development research and policy. More details

This is the cover of a Working Paper

Spreading the Gains from Globalisation: What Can Be Learned From Value Chain Analysis

IDS Working Paper 110 (2000)

Globalisation has been associated with increasing inequality within and between countries, and with a large share of the world's population living in poverty. More details

IDS Working Paper

Recovery of a Mexican Cluster: Devaluation Bonanza or Collective Efficiency?

IDS Working Paper 71 (1998)

Mexico, as many other developing countries in Latin America and elsewhere, has been moving in the 1980s towards a liberalised trade regime after a long period of import-substitution. This paper analyses the impact of trade liberalisation on the cooperative behaviour of firms located in the footwear cluster of Guadalajara. More details

IDS Discussion paper

Enterprise Clusters in Africa: On the Way to Industrialisation?

IDS Discussion Paper 295 (1998)

This paper reports the results of an analysis of eight African enterprise clusters: three in Kenya that were the subject of original research, and five others for which substantial secondary literature was available. More details

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