Open Source-Based Capability Building in Latecomer Firms (OSCILATE)

OSCILATE is a two-year research project analysing the role of digitally available open source knowledge in technological capability building efforts in the Global South.

The spread of the Internet combined with the emergence of open access platforms allows for the wide and rapid diffusion of technical design specifications and codified engineering knowledge, e.g., through open designs, discussion forums, free online courses, and instructional text and videos. In theory, this opens up opportunities for firms in developing countries that previously lacked access to such knowledge to build their technological capabilities, but little empirical knowledge is available about the effects of these open-access platforms.

OSCILATE assesses whether, how, and under what conditions firms in developing countries use open access knowledge to build their technological capabilities. In doing so, it aims to contribute to the literature on latecomer capabilities, which to date has paid limited attention to this issue. The project conducts case studies in the South African and Argentinian sectors for small wind turbines, which are based on interviews, site visits, and field-based and participant observation.

Key outputs of the project include academic journal paper publications and a stakeholder workshop. The project will also generate recommendations for actions that different stakeholders can pursue to support latecomer learning based on open source knowledge.

The project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant.

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Focus area: Business Models and Markets

Country / Region: Argentina, South Africa

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