Innovation, Openness and ICTs
Openness and IDRC
Richard Jefferson
Mammo Muchie
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Innovation, Openness And ICTs


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A presentation by Laurent Elder to introduce the session Innovation in the field of ICT4D: What are we talking about?

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  • Joseph Schumpeter – Austrian economist
  • Creative destruction – idea that innovations – mainly technological innovations – change the ways things are done as old industries die and new ones emerge – think for example of the industrial revolution how agrarian societies were transformed into industrial societies through the advent of large scale manufacturing. The interesting thing for us is that ICTs, mainly the advent of the Internet, has also instigated a level of creative destruction not seen since the industrial revolution, and possibly even since the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press.
  • Eric Von Hippel: End user innovation - prompted a major rethinking of how the innovation process works. He is the originator of lead user theory and a leading voice on open methods of innovation development
  • Difficulty in understanding what is meant by “openness”
  • Is it, as some say, a form of “Commonism”, where the key tenets of capitalism, intellectual property rights such as copyright and patents are questioned?
  • For others, “openness” is an intrinsic factor linked to neo-liberalism and “opening markets” and ensuring unregulated and stateless markets
  • Why is this issue of interest to IDRC? Well as one of the aspects of its new and current programming, we are asking the question of how we can catalyse the impact of ICTs? And the hypothesis is that openness, or open social arrangements are a means to achieve more impact for icts, notably by ensuring the development of more inclusive and equitable information societies. Hence the interest in open educational models, open government, open access to infrastructure, open business models and, of course, open innovation, and their relationship to development outcomes. This is why we have invited to illustrious figures to discuss some of these ideas, but most notably the idea of open innovation.
  • Born in California, Richard obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Colorado, followed by an NIH fellowship in Cambridge where he conducted the world's first field release of a transgenic food crop, and created and distributed what is now amongst the most widely cited and licensed plant biotechnologies. After working with the FAO as Senior Molecular Biologist he founded Cambia in Canberra in 1991. Richard was awarded the Leadership in Science: Public Service Award by the American Association of Plant Biologists. Richard is an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Schwab Foundation, for which is a regular panelist at the Davos meetings of the World Economic Forum. In 2009, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Richard became Professor of Science, Technology & Law at the Queensland University of Technology, and Founding Director the Initiative for Open Innovation (IOI).
  • Mammo Muchie is professor and director of the Research Centre on Development and International Political Economy, at Aalborg University, Denmark, and a South African national chair on innovation studies, at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Innovation, Openness And ICTs

    1. 1. Innovation, Openness and ICTs
    2. 2. Innovation
    3. 6. Openness
    4. 9. Openness and IDRC
    5. 10. Richard Jefferson
    6. 11. Mammo Muchie
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