Title: Weaknesses in policy to support technology diffusion: a study of additive manufacturing in South Africa

Authors: Daniel Kunniger; David R. Walwyn

Addresses: Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, 26 Melville Rd, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa ' Department of Engineering and Technology Management, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa

Abstract: Rapid and pervasive technology diffusion presents one of the more difficult challenges for innovation policy and South Africa is no exception. In this study, the diffusion of additive manufacturing (AM) in a single geographic cluster of the main manufacturing province was studied. It was established that adoption of AM within this cluster is slow with only 5% of the sample reporting lease or ownership of AM devices, and it is predicted using the Bass model that the market's full potential may only be reached by 2045. The majority of firms in the sample were either poorly informed or misinformed about the technology, reflecting a general weakness in terms of knowledge, learning and market understanding. Policy instruments in support of doing, using and interacting need to be considerably strengthened if further decline in the manufacturing sector of middle-income countries such as South Africa, is to be avoided.

Keywords: additive manufacturing; technological diffusion; South Africa; Bass model.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2017.084932

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2017 Vol.9 No.2, pp.137 - 152

Received: 29 Jun 2016
Accepted: 23 Jul 2016

Published online: 09 Jul 2017 *

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