Technicians and Innovation: A Literature Review

44 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2019

Date Written: June 17, 2019


This report examines the role that technicians play in innovation. Technicians are workers who possess intermediate skills. Their contribution to innovation - that is, to the development and diffusion of new technologies - is analysed using as a theoretical framework the so-called innovation systems approach. Technicians contribute to innovation in a number of ways, perhaps most notably through contributing to firms' absorptive capacity (that is, firms' capacity to understand and make effective use of new knowledge about products and production processes). The possibility of so-called 'system failures', whereby the set of organisations and institutions involved in vocational education and training fails to supply the skilled technician labour required to complement new technologies, is considered (along with possible solutions).

Keywords: innovation, technicians, innovation systems, system failures, skills shortages, over-education, human capital, institutions, research and development, industrial policy, catapult centres

JEL Classification: J01, J08, J18, J24, L6, L52, L60, M5, M53

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Paul Andrew, Technicians and Innovation: A Literature Review (June 17, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Paul Andrew Lewis (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Bush House
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 0 20 7848 3970 (Phone)
+44 0 20 7848 3970 (Fax)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics