In a research article entitled ‘Human capital and innovation in
developing countries: a firm level study’ Van Uden and co-authors
analysed the relationship between firms’ human capital endowments and
firm-level practices to improve innovative output. This was analysed
using employee schooling level as the human capital endowment and
firm-level (company) training as a firm-level practice. Moreover, the
study considered free time within working time (‘slack’ time’) that
employees can spend on their own innovative ideas as an additional
firm-level practice. They referred to evidence from company 3M, where
employees spend 15% of their working time on projects of their own
choosing, and conclude that such employees have a higher chance of
There is an implicit assumption that if different factors spur
innovation, combining these factors will result in a strong impact.
Therefore, different combinations of firm-level practices with regard to
training and slack time were related to innovation, which was defined as
the introduction of new or significantly improved products or services
by the firm. The data collected (survey) concerned a sample of SMEs in
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (2,076 SMEs in total).
This policy brief presents the research outcomes and discusses several
policy implications that could be considered by governments, business
managers and development agencies.
Voeten, J. Policy Brief 1: Promoting Human Capital and Innovation in Low Income Countries (LICs). Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands (2015) 4 pp.
Policy Brief 1: Promoting Human Capital and Innovation in Low Income Countries (LICs)