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Sustainable Innovation: Challenges for Innovation Studies Govindan Parayil Professor Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture University of Oslo,

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Innovation: Challenges for Innovation Studies Govindan Parayil Professor Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture University of Oslo,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Innovation: Challenges for Innovation Studies Govindan Parayil Professor Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture University of Oslo, Norway

2 Global Climate Change o The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore & IPCC o Nobel citation: “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change” o IPCC has done exemplary work on the science of climate change

3 Global Climate Change Global Climate Change Al Gore has made great effort to disseminate “greater knowledge” about global warming But we are yet to see the laying of the “foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such changes” United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, December 3-14, 2007 One of the key recommendations is about developing and sharing technologies

4 Growth and Poverty Growth and Poverty Great concentrations of wealth and growing prosperity in the world Still 986 million people were eking out a living on less than a dollar a day in 2004 (The World Bank) 2.6 billion people subsist on two dollars a day in 2004 (The World Bank) Development deficit still haunts the star performers. Growth and inequality

5 Development indicators (Source: World Development Indicators 2006) Country Population in 2004 (million) GDP 2004 (billion $) Electricity usage per capita 2003 (kwh) Tel landlines per 1000 people (2004) Cellular subscribers per 1000 (2004) Internet users per 1000 (2004) India China Brazil South Africa Indonesia South Korea Japan Sweden Singapore Denmark USA

6 Growth & Poverty It is not all bad news! 260 million people escaped extreme poverty during , mostly in emerging Asia and hundreds of millions moved up to middle class status

7 Growth and Poverty Growth and Poverty China’s growth story during the past three decades and India’s growth during the past decade. What about the rising global consumption of food, oil, minerals, etc.? All people in the world have an inalienable moral right to demand a decent standard of living taken for granted in Europe, North America, Japan and so on. Can we grow without leaving unsustainable carbon and ecological footprint? Can we do it through sustainable innovations?

8 World supply of primary energy Hydro+ means hydropower plus other renewables besides biomass Energy supply grew 20-fold between 1850 and Fossil fuels supplied 80% of the world’s energy in Source: Holdren (2007)

9 Global greenhouse-gas emissions in 2000 Stern Review (Oct 2006) The fossil fuels responsible for the energy emissions were still supplying 80% of civilization’s energy in 2005

10 Business-as-usual (BAU) forecasts Primary energy, exajoules World United States China Electricity, trillion kWh World United States China Source: Holdren (2007)

11 Sustainable Innovation, a question concerning technology? Environmentally and socially creative ways of expanding productivity and economic opportunities Need bold initiatives without leaving massive ecological footprint on the planet Functionality, efficiency, aesthetics, cost and so on are important to engineering design Sustainability dimension (indicators) A crucial shift in innovation dynamics A question concerning technology?

12 Revisiting the technology debate Focus on technology as the problem for unsustainability is an old one The Limits to Growth (Meadows, et al.) Appropriate or alternative technology movement Small is Beautiful (E.F. Schumacher) Our Common Future (Brundtland Commission)

13 New Innovation Dynamics Bridge the gap between science and research with innovation Upstream research discoveries need to be sustainably bridged to downstream applications Move beyond price signals for market clearance Private sector will not allocate resources under extreme uncertainty A quadruple helix of key stakeholders Open innovation and user-producer interactions

14 New Innovation Dynamics Innovation and the learning economy A new system of innovation STI and DUI mode (Lundvall) Learning economy and sustainability by combining Amartya Sen’s concepts of agency, capability and human development Development must be seen as an expansion of substantive freedoms that humans value and enjoy Development is not just growth

15 Innovation and sustainability Substantive freedoms are essentially the capabilities humans have to live the kind of lives they have reason to value Freedom from starvation, poverty, and diseases; the freedom of being literate, able to participate in political processes, in civil society, to shape one’s own living conditions; ability to nurture entrepreneurial skills, etc. Shift in focus from “the patient” to “the agent”

16 Innovation and sustainability Human capabilities rather than resource endowments are the key to development Innovation systems approach must be changed to accept this important facet of development A new approach to knowledge production and diffusion Problem of commodification of knowledge Bring in sustainability in innovation systems research

17 Energy Innovations Central to Sustainability Energy Innovations Central to Sustainability Arguably, the most crucial innovation challenge facing humanity is in the energy sector Clean and affordable sources of energy are essential for reducing poverty and improving standard of living What is the major focus of energy policy in rich countries? Carbon-based energy innovations are short- sighted Bio-fuels unsustainable innovation. Why?

18 Bio-fuels Economics of turning food into fuel Ethics of using food as fuel Global food crisis Western countries blaming growing India and China for the problem What is the truth? UN Rome Summit on Global Food Crisis What sort of bio-fuels can be considered sustainable? Non-food biomass, switch grass, jatropha

19 Energy Innovations Increasing energy efficiency Carbon capture and storage Solar energy Synthetic biology (advances in genetic engineering) Wind Geothermal Fusion Nuclear?

20 A Global Compact for Sustainable Innovation A concerted global compact to develop and transfer clean and zero emission technologies to developing countries Any models? International innovation system and technology transfer model that led to the “Green Revolution”

21 Thank you!


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