Innovation Challenges in Latin America


  • Cristian Geldes Facultad de Economía y Negocios, Universidad Alberto Hurtado
  • Christian Felzensztein Massey University
  • Alejandro Flores Departament of Administration, University of Pacific


Innovation Challenges in Latin America, special Issue, call for papers


Innovation emerges as an option for companies to achieve growth and sustainability in a dynamic, complex and increasingly competitive environment. Thus, the innovation process has been analyzed from different perspectives, finding different definitions and classifications (Porter, 1998; Cooke, 2008; McCann and Ortega-Argiles, 2015; Geldes et al, 2017a).

However, most innovation studies have focused on developed economies. In fact, in the case of Latin America, studies started late and are relatively scarce (Ketelhöhn and Ogliastri, 2013; Olavarrieta and Villena, 2014). In addition, it has been established that business innovation is determined by internal and external factors that are specific to each industrial sector and country, so those general recommendations can only be made to promote innovation in developing or emerging countries (Brenes et al, 2016; Geldes et al, 2017a; Heredia et al, 2018a). Moreover, there are specific variables in Latin American and emerging economies that affect innovation processes such as high levels of informal competition, low levels of inter-organizational cooperation, differences between companies in regions and capitals, among others (Pino et al, 2016; Brache and Felzensztein, 2017; Geldes et al, 2017b; Heredia et al, 2018b).

Given the above, we propose this "special issue" of the Journal of Technology Management and Innovation (, with the purpose of contributing to the discussion of the challenges to promote innovation in Latin America. With the purpose of orienting the research proposals, we propose the Global Index of Innovation[1] as a framework, considering the disaggregation of its dimensions and components. It will allow shedding light on topics that can be addressed for this special issue oriented to the firm´s innovation, such as:

  • Ease of starting a business
  • Ease of resolving insolvency
Human Capital and Research
  • Researchers
  • Global R&D companies


  • Uses and access of Information and Communication Technologies
  • ISO 14001 environmental certificates

Market sophistication

  • Ease of getting credit
  • Intensity of local competition
  • Domestic market scale

Business sophistication

  • The percentage of females employed with advanced degrees out of total employed
  • University/industry research collaboration
  • Intellectual property payments
  • Research talent in business enterprise

Knowledge and technology outputs

  • Patent applications by origin
  • New business density
  • Total computer software spending
  • High-tech exports

Creative outputs.

  • Cultural and creative services exports
  • Mobile app creation



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Brache, J., & Felzensztein, C. (2017). Geographical co-location on Chilean SME's export performance. Journal of Business Research (in press – available on line).

Brenes, E., Camacho, A., Ciravegna, L. and Pichardo C. A., 2016. Strategy and innovation in emerging economies after the end of the commodity boom – Insights from Latin America. Journal of Business Research, Vol. 69, Issue 10: 4363-4367.

Cooke, P., 2008. Regional Innovation Systems, Clean Technology & Jacobian Cluster‐Platform Policies. Regional Science Policy & Practice 1 (1): 23-45.

Geldes, C., Felzensztein, C. and Palacios, J. (2017a). Technological and non-technological innovations, performance and propensity to innovate across industries. The case of an emerging economy. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 61, pp. 55-66.

Geldes, C., Felzensztein, C., Mora, M., and Heredia, J. (2017b). Proximity as determinant of business cooperation for technological and non-technological innovations: a study of an agribusiness cluster. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 32:1, pp. 167-178.

Heredia, J., Geldes, C., Kunc, M. and Flores, A. (2018a). New approaches to the innovation process in emerging economies. The manufacturing sector case in Chile and Peru. Technovation (in press – available on line)

Heredia, J., Kunc, M., Durst, S., Flores, A. y Geldes, C. (2018b). Impact of competition from unregistered firms on R&D investment by industrial sector in emerging economies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 133, pp. 179-189.

Ketelhöhn, N. & Ogliastri, E., 2013. Introduction: innovation in Latin America/Introducción: innovación en América Latina. Academia Revista Latinoamericana de Administración, 26 (1): 12-32.

McCann, P. & Ortega-Argilés, R., 2015. Smart specialization, regional growth and applications to European Union Cohesion Policy. Regional Studies, Vol. 49, Issue 8, 1291-1302.

Olavarrieta, S., Villena, M.G., 2014. Innovation and business research in Latin America: An overview. Journal of Business Research, 67(4): 489–497.

Pino, C., Felzensztein, Ch., Zwerg-Villegas, A. M. y Arias-Bolzman, L. (2017). Non-technological innovation: Market performance of exporting firms in South America. Journal of Business Research. Vol. 69, Issue 10, 4385-4393.

Porter, M., 1998. Clusters and the New Economics of Competition. Harvard Business Review 76: 77-90.




How to Cite

Geldes, C., Felzensztein, C., & Flores, A. (2018). Innovation Challenges in Latin America. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 13(3), 113. Retrieved from



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