A study of production and innovation capabilities in selected information and communications technology clusters in Nigeria
The study examined the production capabilities existing in selected ICT clustered firms in Nigeria and determined the nature and extent of innovations possessed by the firms. It also investigated factors influencing the building of production and innovation capabilities of the ICT firms in the clusters and established the impact of clustering on business performance of the firms. This is with a view to designing policy framework for facilitating innovativeness in the Nigerian ICT clusters. The study employed survey design and was carried out using both primary and secondary data sources. A multistage sampling technique was used to select a total of 400 firms from ICT clusters from Abuja, Lagos and Port-Harcourt. Primary data were collected through structured questionnaire administered on founders of the selected firms. The questionnaire elicited information on issues such as firm’s production and innovation capabilities; types of innovations; sources of information for innovation activities; internal and external factors affecting production and innovation activities and impact of clustering on business performance of the firms. Personal observations and interviews were also used to obtain more information on the activities in the clusters. Secondary data were sourced from official documents such as reports, journals and textbooks. The data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study revealed that about 15% of the ICT firms in the clusters had been involved in product manufacturing such as computer cloning, power packs modification, computer casing design and fabrication among others. About 57% and 22% had monthly production up to 20 and 40 computers on the average, respectively. These firms had adopted traditional quality control (94%) and total quality management (23%). About 65% and 63% of the firms were involved in marketing and organisational innovations, respectively. These firms had generated 148, 382, 498 and 396 product, process, organisation and marketing innovations, respectiiv,vely between 2011 and 2013. Most of the innovations were either new or significantly improved products or services. The study further showed factors that significantly influenced the building of production and innovation capabilities. This include qualification of marketing manager (β=30.66, ρ<0.01), suppliers of materials (β=22.16, ρ <0.01), qualification of owner (β=16.17, ρ <0.01), competition (β=13.76, ρ <0.01), innovation expenditure (β=16.17, ρ <0.01), age of business (β=6.97, ρ <0.01) and percentage of engineers (β=1.11, ρ<0.05). The following factors significantly contributed to business performance: resource spillover (R2= 14.4%), cooperation and linkages (R2=11.5%), availability of financial resources (R2=11.4%), inter-firm resource sharing(R2=10.6%), increased performance (R2= 8.36%) collaborations (R2= 8.3%)and information sharing (R2= 7.7%). The study also designed policy framework for facilitating innovativeness around effective linkage and collaborations between the clusters and knowledge institutions, standardisation and promotion of quality assurance as well as provision of cluster knowledge management system. The study concluded that production and innovation capabilities in ICT clusters in Nigeria could be improved through provision of adequate human resource development, financial and technology support services and improved working environments among others.