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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2019

Sheila Serafim Da Silva, Paulo Roberto Feldmann, Renata Giovinazzo Spers and Martha Delphino Bambini

Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), owned by the Brazilian Government, is one of the most efficient agencies…

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Abstract

Purpose

Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), owned by the Brazilian Government, is one of the most efficient agencies for promoting sustainable tropical agriculture in the world. However, although information is available, farmers do not always put the technologies and knowledge into practice. There is a large difference between the average productivity of farmers and crop or herd potential. Thus, this paper aims to describe and analyze the process of technology transfer of the Embrapa Agrobiology Unit.

Design/methodology/approach

The study reviewed the classical and diffusionist models of technology transfer (TT) in Brazilian agriculture and the role of the government in innovation. This was based on documentary research and structured interviews with four employees, supported by a structured roadmap composed of four categories for analysis: the role of TT; the organizational structure of the area; the TT strategies; and the ways of delivery, methods and tools of TT. By a qualitative approach, the results were treated through content analysis.

Findings

The results indicated that the area of TT at Embrapa went through a recent restructuring, which included the interchange and collective construction of knowledge (ICC) in its TT process, to turn entrepreneurship into reality. The company is dedicated to bringing knowledge to the most important people: farmers. This has been done through a participatory TT model, which has involved multiplier agents from the research stage to the transfer stage.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations were found, among them, the fact that only internal members of Embrapa were interviewed, limiting the view of the TTICC staff and without knowing the multiplier agents’ opinion and other actors involved in the process. In addition, it is a qualitative research that is subject to the interpretation of the researcher.

Practical implications

This study contributed to reflections about the TT process and how it can be used by different actors, along with the role of the State in innovation.

Social implications

In addition to contributing to the development of products, processes and technologies for the economic, social and environmental development of Brazil, Embrapa has been outstanding in generating knowledge for the advancement of science. Its results have had impacts not only nationally but also worldwide. Embrapa has played a key role in Brazilian agriculture as well as in livestock, mainly, in supporting governmental projects and in the implementation of public policies.

Originality/value

The aim of this study was achieved, as there was a possibility of describing and analyzing the technology transfer process at Embrapa Agrobiology Unit, located in the city of Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro. It is concluded that Embrapa has been committed to involving the farmer in the process of interchange, collective construction of knowledge and technology transfer. The farmer has become the focus of this process, reducing the development of “shelf” researches and increasing the participation of the farmer or of the multiplier agent. The importance of studying and knowing the process of technology and knowledge transfer to the public of interest should be highlighted, and especially the reasons why this technology or knowledge are often not adopted by the public. It was possible to identify that Embrapa has noticed the difficulties of farmers and realized that the best way the best way of transforming technological solutions and knowledge into innovation is by involving the farmer in the process of construction and of transfer. Thus, the farmer gives greater credibility to the technology or generated knowledge because this is something that he himself helped build. In the sphere of contemporary institutional knowledge management, Embrapa has had as its main point of departure the demand and the needs of society. For this, it has created means to ensure the participation of different actors because they signal the construction of technological solutions and of innovation and they are the ones who know the real situation. However, this is a recent progress within Embrapa that has evolved and generated results. Thus, research, science and technology institutions must go beyond technology transfer and must ensure the involvement, participation and interaction of the public of interest to promote significant change, social, economic and environmental development and transformation. Embrapa observed this from the referential framework that included technology transfer, interchange and the collective construction of knowledge.

Details

Innovation & Management Review, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2515-8961

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2012

Pérsio Penteado Pinto Martins, João Maurício Gama Boaventura, Adalberto Americo Fischmann, Benny Kramer Costa and Renata Giovinazzo Spers

This article aims to describe a qualitative, exploratory study with the objective of developing scenarios for the road freight transport industry in Brazil and evaluating the

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Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to describe a qualitative, exploratory study with the objective of developing scenarios for the road freight transport industry in Brazil and evaluating the effectiveness of the method applied, which used the stakeholders of said industry as a means to identify the variables of the scenarios.

Design/approach/methodology

According to the classification scheme developed by Huss and Honton, the authors' method fits into the intuitive logics approach to scenarios, employing concepts of stakeholder analysis as proposed by Freeman. Primary data collection was conducted through key informant interviews, as outlined by Fetterman. The use of the method of intuitive logics combined with the stakeholder analysis evaluates the consistency of experts' opinions on the characteristics of stakeholders. Four environmental scenarios, distinct but equally plausible, were generated for the road freight transport industry as it was felt that more than four scenarios tends to be too complex.

Findings

The method applied produced scenarios distinctive enough to classify them as contrasting, accounting for macroenvironmental variables and variables determined by influential stakeholders in the analyzed industry. Organized and connected, these variables produced precise end states that warrant consideration in the policies and strategies of industry players. The characteristics of the scenarios produced reveal that the method was effective. The authors found the most influential stakeholders in the industry to be the government, shipping clients, end consumers, logistics service providers, and trade associations. The industry's main uncertainties are tied to how the actions of government, shippers, and logistics service providers will unfold.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations could be identified in the method. One refers to the absence of procedures to govern the chronology of events at the time of preparation of scenario plots. Another shortcoming is the third and final stage of the research; the authors observed some weakness in the method when defining a variable that is independent because it can be independent of the variables selected for the last step but dependent on others considered but not selected.

Practical implications

The results of the study can stimulate reflection of stakeholders on factors that will affect their decision making, stimulate understanding of the conditions for sustainability of the industry, and identify business opportunities and necessary strategic resources for the success of organizations in the future.

Social implications

The transport industry plays a vital role in factors that are paramount for the economical development of a country, such as exploration of resources and mass production, and, in Brazil, road freight transport is of particular importance. The research can guide public policy in regulating and investing in industry, since the plots facilitate the understanding of the consequences of causal relationships as well as the final states resulting from these. The scenarios reveal causal relationships strongly influenced by the stakeholder “government”, especially regarding investment in infrastructure, regulation and supervision of the industry.

Originality/value

Application of the method proposed by Boaventura and Fischmann to the road freight transport industry generated distinct, but equally plausible scenarios. The method considered the key uncertainties as dichotomous variables. The scenarios were different since combinations of final states of the key uncertainties led to a different logic or rationale. The authors may state that this particular application contributed towards improvement of the method, as it tested the method's logic when applied to a complex environment influenced by many stakeholders.

Details

Foresight, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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