Frontiers of inclusive innovation

UN-ESCAP: “Science, technology and innovation (STI) can increase the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of efforts to meet the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The successful adoption of existing innovations has enabled many economies to sustain economic growth. Innovation can expand access to education and health-care services. Technologies, such as those supporting renewable energy, are also providing options for more environmentally sustainable development paths.

Nevertheless, STI have exacerbated inequalities and created new types of social divides and environmental hazards, establishing new and harder to cross frontiers between those that benefit and those that are excluded. In the context of increasing inequalities and a major pandemic, Governments need to look more seriously at harnessing STI for the Sustainable Development Goals and to leave no one behind. This may require shifting the focus from chasing frontier technologies to expanding the frontiers of innovation. Many promising technologies have already arrived. Economic growth does not have to be the only bottom line of innovation activities. Innovative business models are offering pathways that benefit society and the environment as well as the bottom line.

To maximize STI for inclusive and sustainable development, Governments need to intentionally expand the frontiers of innovation. STI policies must seek not just to explore emerging technologies, but, most importantly, to ensure that more citizens, enterprises and countries can benefit from such technologies and innovations.CH1

This report on Frontiers of Inclusive Innovation: Formulating technology and innovation policies that leave no one behind highlights the opportunities and challenges that policymakers and development partners have to expand the frontiers of inclusive innovation. When inclusion is the next frontier of technology, STI policies are designed differently.

They are designed with broader objectives than just economic growth, with social development and sustainable economies in mind; and they are inclusive in terms of aspiring to enable everyone to benefit from – and participate in – innovative activities.

Governments can add an inclusive lens to STI policies by considering the following questions:

   1. Do the overall aims of innovation policy involve more than economic growth? 

   2. Whose needs are being met?

   3. Who participates in innovation?

   4. Who sets priorities, and how are the outcomes of innovation managed?…(More)”