Institution is a game mechanic introduced in Europa Universalis IV introduced in 1.18 and the Westernization mechanic was removed. It is a mechanic which nations embracing institutions can avoid technology penalties. For every non-embraced institution, the penalty of raising a tech level can be increased annually by 1% and up to 50% per institution. It is possible for a primitive nation without any of the seven institution after they had spawned and bearing 350% cost penalty on raising a technology level. Institution can be spread from provinces to provinces with varied speed determined by friendliness of neighboring provinces, development, peace/war status, and stability.
The first institution Feudalism existed in the beginning in most part of the world except hordes in the Steppes, primitive nations in Africa, and the native tribes in the new world. The second institution Renaissance will guaranteed to be spawned in Italy by the 1450s and spread across the world. Nations which are far from Italy can choose to raise development to have Renaissance. In addition, Common Sense DLC is needed to raise development in provinces.
The third institution Colonialism can be spawned by having a colonial nation in the new world (except for Australia, so East Asian nations has to sail across the Pacific and land on the West coast of the Americas). In most cases, Castile/Spain or Portugal will have this institution first in the 1500s, but anyone with a colonial nation can have it. (Tip: if Colonialism never spawned, the latter institution will never spawn and the world will be more technologically advance)
The fourth institution is Printing Press and spawn in a German Protestant/Reformed nations in the 1550s. For non-Protestant or non-reformed nations outside of Europe, it is a must to develop provinces to have this institution. Since Catholics and Protestants/Reformed usually won’t get along easily, it will take a while to spread outside of Europe.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh institutions are Global Trade, Manufacturies and Enlightenment. Global Trade will spawn in the capital city which is a trade center in with the highest trading node. Manufactories seem to spawn randomly in a capital city with more than 20 development and a manufactory. Enlightenment seem to spawn randomly in an European capital city with more than 20 development, member of a parliament seat and an university with in Europe. Everyone with marketplaces, manufactories, and universities in their provinces can have these institutions.
In conclusion, for non European nations, in order to have Renaissance and Printing Press before their neighbors, it is essential to raise development. And here are some tips about raising development:
- Raise developments in farmlands (-5%), grasslands (0%), and drylands(+5%). They are the terrains that receive the least penalties. Temperate climates the the best, preferred with trade nodes and capital city.
- Buddhism nations has events that can reduce development costs for certain regions.
- It is the optimum to raise development in provinces with originally 13-22. The least amount of monarch points would be spent.
- After finishing with raising development, wait till you have enough monarch points can raise technology level and then try to raise money to embrace the institution. It also give time for institution to spread.
- Fully economics idea will give -20% at development cost and the economic-quantity policy gives -10% development cost. Also nations like the Netherlands, Dali, Lan Na, Great Horde, Tuscany… has ambitions/national ideas/traditions to have cost reduction when raising development.
- Trading tropical woods gives -5% development reduction cost. (Easy for Indonesian nations)
- -20% if province has university.
- Capital cities always have some cost reductions.
Here is a YouTube video of more detailed analysis and information (I didn’t make this video)
PS: For the achievement of City of Cities which require a 60+ development province, it is easier to obtain as an non-European nation because provinces that were used to raise development usually have more than 30 developments already. With the bonus in late game like university and parliaments, and excessive amount of monarch points, it is fairly easy to have a 60 development province.