From Science and Technology to Innovation for Development
Science and Technology (S&T) for development is often associated with radical technological change that offers new opportunities for human development. In affluent, highly developed countries, the use of material saving and energy efficient technologies promises to gradually eliminate unsustainable consumption patterns; while in developing countries, S&T are expected to eradicate world poverty, diseases and underdevelopment. Despite the many warnings raised by development and S&T economists that sustainable technological change depends on corresponding institutional change, there has been a tendency to take the economic sustainability of new technologies for granted. Humanity, waiting so to say, for such “technology manna” and technology transfer from North to South to become implemented. In this paper, I will not enter the global sustainability policy challenges, which have been discussed at greater length elsewhere (see Kemp, Soete and Weehuizen, 2005 and 2011), but focus on the shift from S&T to Innovation for Development, which has occurred over the last ten to twenty years. This shift fully recognizes the “endogenous” nature of innovation as opposed to the old, neo-classical exogenous view of technological change and technology transfer, as it was popular in the 70’s and 80’s.