Innovation for Social Change
The importance of innovation for development is widely recognized. Yet the benefits of innovation are not readily or equally distributed among or within countries. In fact, there has never been so much innovation with so little benefit for far-reaching social welfare. Innovation has created immense capabilities for improving life conditions, in areas such as food production and information technologies, but these coexist with growing poverty rates, widespread hunger and poor health conditions for much of the world’s population.
One reason for this is the issue of global power relations, which influence how markets are organized and who benefits from technological progress. Innovation systems are not neutral — the effects of purely market-led science and technology efforts and associated innovations tend to aggravate existing inequalities. This needs to change. The process of innovation and its place in development must be revisited and aligned with social concerns.