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Entries tagged with ‘innovation’


The STEPS Centre ran a special session at the 9th Globelics Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 November, entitled Innovation for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development.

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Ethos founded in Brazil

Ethos is a not-for-profit organization, founded in Brazil in 1998 by a group of businessmen and executives from the private sector. Ethos clusters knowledge management, exchange of experiences and tools development to support firms to analyze their management practices and set commitments toward social responsibility and sustainability.

Ethos became a reference in Brazil for CSR and sustainability, building awareness and being a key player in making sustainability a mainstream topic in the news media and closer to individuals.

The mission of Ethos is to ‘mobilise, sensitise, and support firms to manage their businesses in a socially-responsible way, towards the construction of a more just and sustainable society’. The Ethos Institute ‘develops, organises, and adapts materials on Tools for Business Management to keep them up to date and relevant to issues of global and national Corporate Social Responsibility.’ Tools include instruments for self-evaluation and learning, developed to meet the needs of firms at different stages of management, but primarily for internal use in diagnosis, planning and implementation, as well as benchmarking for the evaluation process.

The basic tools include Best Practices Bank, Social Accountability Guide, Compatibility Guide, Ethos Indicators, Contextualising tools, Matrix of Essential Criteria, Evidence Matrix, Sustainability Reporting.

Timeline entry contributed by Carolina de Andrade

National Innovation Council for Competitiveness, Chile

The National Innovation Council for Competitiveness is a public-private partnership that acts as permanent adviser to the President of the Republic.

The National Innovation Council for Competitiviness proposal is based on three strategic pillars:
1. The establishment of a system of lifelong learning, accessible and quality that allows the country to have the human capital demand of the Knowledge Economy.
2. Strengthening platform generation, dissemination and application of knowledge which is based on continuous efforts and strong scientific and technological research consistent with the productive and social problems of the country.
3. The consolidation of an innovative business focused on value creation as a strategy of competition in global markets, with companies that are willing to take the leading role that they bear in the research and development and innovation.

Timeline entry contributed by Níckolas Laport

‘Putting Africa First: The Making of African Innovation Systems’

Putting Africa First: The Making of African Innovation Systems (2003)
Authors: Mammo Muchie, Peter Gammeltoft, Bengt-Åke Lundvall

Putting Africa first: the making of African innovation systems was published at a time when African governments came together to form a Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, committing to bringing about an African Renaissance. The debate in the literature at the time was on whether following advanced countries in developing science, technology and innovation would be appropriate for Africa considering the lack of infrastructure – including basic infrastructure – weak institutions and weak linkages between actors.

The book puts forward the premise that a systems of innovation approach that is based on indigenous knowledge and capabilities may in fact be the most appropriate approach for achieving sustainable development in Africa as it places emphasis on learning and competence building. It thus provides the tools for the structural transformation necessary for economic and social development in the region. The premise is that the approach should be context sensitive, taking into account local and regional specificities.

The book includes 21 chapters and draws on empirical research in Africa, Europe and Asia. As reviews of the book indicate, it has its shortfalls, particularly in not completely following through with its argument and missing elements key to development (Carmody 2006; Kankuzi 2005). The book has however been influential in that it was the first of its kind to assert the usefulness of the systems of innovation approach for analyzing development in Africa, and in bringing the focus to learning and competency building at the national and regional levels (Lundvall, Muchie and Gammeltoft 2003).

Timeline entry contributed by Il-haam Petersen

TRIPS agreement

The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of talks of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It is an international agreement that sets down minimum protection standards on various intellectual property rights. It is administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and applies to all members of the WTO.

The TRIPS agreement’s goal was to standardize the way intellectual property rights are protected around the world in order to provide inventors with an incentive to produce ideas that will benefit society as a whole. “It strikes a balance between the long term benefits and possible short term costs to society. Society benefits in the long term when intellectual property protection encourages creation and invention, especially when the period of protection expires and the creations and inventions enter the public domain.” (WTO website on TRIPS)

Nevertheless the TRIPS agreement has been criticised for limiting access to medicine in developing countries and distributing wealth from the developing countries to the developed ones. In response to these concerns the Doha Declaration was released in 2001 reinterpreting the agreement “in a manner supportive of WTO members” (WTO website on Doha) right to protect public health and, in particular, “to promote access to medicines for all” and reaffirming the provision for flexibility to circumvent patent rights for this purpose.


WTO website on the TRIPS agreement http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm7_e.htm

WTO website on the Doha Declaration http://www.wto.org/english/theWTO_e/minist_e/min01_e/mindecl_trips_e.htm

Entry submitted by Samantha Krawczyk

XIX Ibero American Summit issues Lisbon Declaration

At the close of the XIX Summit held in Portugal (29 November to 1 December, 2009), the 22 heads of state and government of Ibero-America signed the Lisbon Declaration, which underlies their determination to promote innovation and knowledge in the region. The Declaration recognizes the importance of both as essential tools to eradicate poverty, fight hunger, improve populations’ health and achieve sustainable, integrated, inclusive, equitable and environmentally friendly development. One of the commitments contained in the Declaration is the creation of the biennial Ibero-American Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation. Another one is the implementation of an ambitious program in technology innovation and applied technology to strengthen the quality of the labor supply in the region and thus allow for technology transfer.

Entry submitted by Maira Devisscher

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