Technology Management & Innovation Centre
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Innovation and Technology Centre
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VISION STATEMENT:

The Innovation and Technology Center will continue to produce world-class research in innovation and technology management. It will provide a platform where international researchers, academics, businesses, industry and the public sector work in partnership to find solutions to challenges facing firms and supporting the public sector's industrial development goals in key sectors.


MISSION STATEMENT:

The Innovation & Technology Center (ITC) mission is to:

  1. Carry out firm-level research on innovation and productivity and their drivers.
  2. Conduct surveys with international researchers on innovation and technology.
  3. Collaborate with the government on policy-oriented research focusing on technological and managerial upgradation and adoption of innovations in the manufacturing sector.
  4. Work with the local Chambers of Commerce and other industrial organizations to promote technological, product, and process innovation in Pakistan.
  5. Disseminate knowledge by making its scholarly content usable and accessible to the general public by publishing its research findings in leading English and Urdu newspapers.
  6. Obtain patents for technologies, processes and products developed in the Lahore School of Economics.


Review 2015-2018

  1. The Center organized two sessions in the 14th Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy held on 28-29 March, 2018. In these sessions, the researchers investigated how an industrial strategy for Punjab fits into the wider CPEC framework by using microeconomic data to analyze the current industrial environment of Punjab to identify synergies and opportunities arising from CPEC and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) developments in order to maximize the benefits these can bring to Pakistan's economy.

    The two sessions organized by the Center in the 14th Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy held on 28-29 March, 2018 were:

Session 1

Determining an Industrial Strategy and Optimal Locations for Industrial Clusters and Special Economic Zones CPEC and Punjab's Industrial Strategy - Opportunities and Synergies - Azam Chaudhry & Theresa Chaudhry, Lahore School of Economics

  • Productivity Dispersion across districts in Punjab, Pakistan - Maryiam Haroon, Lahore School of Economics
  • Suitable Locations for Special Economic Zones with Special Emphasis on CPEC- Umair Ayaz, Lahore School of Economics
  • Relative Wage Variation and Industry Location in Punjab- Zunia Saif, Lahore School of Economics

Session 2

  • Role of Trade Policy, Finance and Innovation in an Optimal Industrial Strategy Boosting Export Opportunities for Pakistan: Leveraging Pakistan's Trade Policy with respect to China- Rabia Arif & Nida Jamil, Lahore School of Economics
  • Financing SME Growth in Punjab- Amar Shuja & Tariq Raza, Lahore School of Economics
  • Identifying and Understanding the High Growth Firms in Pakistani Textile and Apparel Sectors- Waqar Wadho & Azam Chaudhry, Lahore School of Economics

  1. The Center has conducted three business confidence surveys with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) over the last three years to understand the perception of business community on performance of the Pakistan economy and has published 3 Business Confidence Reports on key trends drawn from these surveys.
  2. The Center is playing an active role in ensuring the dissemination of knowledge by making its scholarly content usable and accessible, sharing research findings in the form of articles published in various leading English and Urdu Newspapers in Pakistan. The Center has had 21 articles published on the findings from its research in leading newspapers since August 2016.
  3. The Center is in the process of getting patents for the technologies, processes and products developed in the Lahore School of Economics. The Center has filed an application in March 2018 for a patent for a process invented by the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policies titled "Transformation of Fat Extracted from the Hides and Skins Processed in Tanneries into Biodiesel".
  4. The Center carried out international research projects in the soccer ball, readymade garments, and textile sectors, in collaboration with researchers from Oxford, MIT, Yale, Columbia, and University of Warwick. These research projects have all been based on the collection of primary data in Pakistan:

  1. One of the major contributions of the Center include developing a cost saving technology for the soccer ball manufacturers in Pakistan resulting in 2% cost saving for the industry which operates with a very low profit margin. This research has been jointly conducted by researchers at the Lahore School of Economics, Columbia University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Inspired by the spillover effect and benefits from this innovation, the Government of Punjab has put in place an innovation fund to further promote innovation in other industries and sectors in Punjab.
  2. The research from this project was published by Dr. Azam Chaudhry, Dean Faculty of Economics and Head (ITC) in the Quarterly Journal of Economics ("Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan", with David Atkin, Shamyla Chaudry, Amit K. Khandelwal & Eric Verhoogen) August 2017.
  3. The Center's research team also worked on internationally recognized soccer ball project in which the team looked at how subsidizing high-quality inputs impact quality upgradation in the soccer ball sector.

  1. The research team conducted a technology and innovation mapping project (based on primary data collection) which was aimed to compare the technologies used readymade garments sector in Pakistan with the international market to identify Pakistan's location with respect to the global technology frontier.
  2. The research team worked to benchmark the productivity of garment factories in Pakistan.
  3. The research team from the Innovation Center (ITC) has collaborated with other researchers under the umbrella of the International Growth Centre (IGC) on the following projects:
    1. "Impact assessment of start-up loans to female-run microenterprises" (Mar 2017 | Farah Said, Mahreen Mahmud, Azam Chaudhry.
      This research contributed the following:
      • The researchers measured the impact of access to finance on new women-run enterprises, household welfare and female empowerment.
    2. "Understanding productivity in the Pakistani garment sector: Comparisons with Bangladesh" (20 Apr 2016 | Azam Chaudhry, Rocco Macchiavello, Theresa Chaudhry, Christopher Woodruff.
      • The researchers carried out a pilot project in the ready-made garment sector in Pakistan to: develop a methodology for benchmarking productivity in the garment sector in Pakistan and to explore issues constraining productivity in the sector.
    3. "Development of Punjab Growth Strategy 2018" (19 Jan 2015 | Ijaz Nabi, Naved Hamid, Ali Cheema, Syed Turab Hussain, Syed Ali Hasanain, Azam Chaudhry, Nazish Afraz, Anjum Nasim, Muhammad Farooq Naseer, Zeba Sathar, Sohaib Athar, Hina Shaikh.
      • The Chief Minister asked the IGC to help develop a growth strategy for the province. The research team from ITC along with other researchers proposed the strategy that has now been adopted by the Government as its official Growth Strategy.
    4. "Measuring Innovation in the Textile Sector of Pakistan" (10 Dec 2014 | Waqar Ahmed Wadho, Azam Chaudhry
      • In this survey, the research team studied innovation activities of firms in the textiles sector of Pakistan during 2011- 2013 through a survey of 500 textile firms in Punjab and Sindh, measuring both the technological (product and process) and the non-technological (organizational and marketing) aspects of innovation.
      • The researchers measured 'innovation' in at least four different ways: (1) Innovation rate (based on the response of enterprise if they had innovated during 2011-13,), (2) Innovation input (given by the ratio of R&D expenditure to sales), (3) Innovation output (given by the ratio of new products sales to total sales), and (4) Innovation efficiency (given by the ratio of new product sales to R&D expenditure).
      • This project has already resulted in an international publication in the ISI Impact factor journal, Research Policy, in 2018.
    5. "Spillovers in Technology Adoption: Evidence from a randomised experiment in Pakistan" (10 Oct 2014 | David Atkin, Azam Chaudhry, Amit Khandelwal, Eric Verhoogen)
      • This research aimed to provide rigorous, experimental evidence on the presence (or absence) of technology spillovers between manufacturing firms, using the soccer-ball sector in Sialkot, Pakistan, which manufactures 60 million hand-stitched soccer balls each year or about 70 percent of global production.
      • The researchers designed a new cutting technology that enabled firms to reduce the amount of raw materials required to produce a soccer ball, with the potential to save about 2% of the unit costs.
      • The researchers randomly introduced this new technology to a group of treatment firms, and measured the extent to which this technology was adopted by non-treated firms that were connected to the treated firms.
    6. "Incentives and productivity: Work groups vs. production lines (1 Mar 2013 | Theresa Chaudhry, Christopher Woodruff.
      • The researchers worked with one of the largest producers of fans on the role of incentives in worker performance, where workers operate under a tradition batch (rather than assembly) production method.
      • This research was aimed to test whether short-term financial incentives can be used to decrease absenteeism.
    7. "Frozen food products in Pakistan: marketing and distributional challenges in a developing country" (1 Jul 2011 | Shehla Riza Arifeen, Theresa Chaudhry.
      • The aim of this case study was to understand the challenges the frozen food industry in a developing country like Pakistan has faced in the past and is currently facing.
      • The study revealed that instead of focusing limited resources on developing core competencies by enhancing retail and distribution and introducing new products, firms in the frozen food industry have spent resources on developing the transportation system, distribution system and the capacity of the retailers.


    Research Plan 2018 - 2022

    1. In the next five years, the Innovation and Technology Center (ITC) will continue its current focus on innovation and technology management and industrial development. Over this period, ITC aims to produce high quality research papers and initiate new externally funded research projects. The ITC team is currently working on the following ongoing projects:
      1. Rexine Subsidy Project:
        Principal Investigator(s): Azam Chaudhry (Lahore School of Economics), Shamyla Chaudhary (Lahore School of Economics), Amit Khandelwal (Columbia University), Eric Verhoogen (Columbia University) & David Atkin (MIT)
        • The study seeks to investigate the extent to which high costs of high-quality inputs are a barrier to upgrading in the soccer-ball sector.
        • The team offered subsidies for high-quality rexine (i.e. artificial leather and one of the primary inputs into soccer-ball production) to a random subset of firms. Since fall of 2016, we have collected firm-level data regularly to examine if this subsidy spurs upgrading.
        • The end-line survey is due to take place in the summer of 2018.

      2. Barriers to Product Upgradation in the Sialkot Surgical Goods Sector:
        Principal Investigator(s): Azam Chaudhry (Lahore School of Economics), Shamyla Chaudhary (Lahore School of Economics), Amit Khandelwal (Columbia University), Eric Verhoogen (Columbia University) & David Atkin (MIT)
        • The study investigates the extent to which fixed costs of innovation are a barrier to upgrading in the surgical-goods sector in Sialkot.
        • The team aims to develop a randomized trial to incentivize firms to enter new product lines. We have developed a census of producers in the surgical goods sector in Sialkot using a short survey.
        • The team aims to launch the intervention by December 2018 and complete the follow up surveys by October 2020.

      3. Developing an Optimal Industrial Strategy in the Context of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
        Theresa Chaudhry and Azam Chaudhry (Lahore School) are developing the elements of an optimal industrial strategy for Pakistan. With industrial growth and exports stagnating in Pakistan, there is an urgent need to develop a coordinated industrial strategy. The team working with Lahore School researchers and policy makers to develop an industrial strategy which has the following elements: (i) deciding on which sectors (and subsectors) to invest resources into, (ii) deciding the optimal location for planned industrial zones and special economic zones, (iii) determining the optimal location of industries in the context of CPEC, (iv) developing a coordinated trade strategy that helps promote higher value added exports and (v) determining the financing needs of the SMEs which make up most of the industrial clusters in Pakistan.

      4. Understanding Institutional Barriers to Technology Adoption in the Pakistani Manufacturing Sector
        Matthew McCartney (University of Oxford), Theresa Chaudhry and Azam Chaudhry (Lahore School) plan to study the historical barriers to technology adoption in the Pakistani manufacturing sector with a special emphasis on institutional barriers like the conflict between workers and management, the impact of family run firms on organizational structures and the relationship between producers and suppliers in an uncertain business environment.

      1. The Center will conduct 5 Business Confidence Surveys (one each year). It will keep on playing an active role in the dissemination of research by publishing articles in leading Urdu and English newspapers on monthly basis.
      2. The Center will continue to get patents for the technologies, processes and products developed in the Lahore School of Economics.
      3. The Center plans to build a theoretical model which jointly explains firms' location and technology choices. The objective of this research will be to determine the conditions under which different distributions of firms emerge across space and, more importantly, how firms' technology choices evolve over time. This research will also look at the role played by factor mobility in determining firms' location and technology choices.
      4. The Center plans to collaborate with Mathew McCartney, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford, UK who will be coming to the Lahore School of Economics in Winter Term, 2018 on a sabbatical from the University of Oxford. The joint collaboration will work to develop joint research initiatives between the ITC and the University of Oxford.

Lahore School of Economics 2019 - Innovation and Technology Centre