Innovation is popular in aid at the moment, so much so that there is a steady spate of articles which range from trashing its potential contribution to development through to challenging Western, donor, countries’ assumed roles as the ‘providers’ of innovation.
In this post I want to argue that there is a middle ground between the unthinking mantras that are increasingly peddled by agencies and the growing number of entirely justifiable critiques.
An Economist article made the point succinctly over a decade ago, ‘what precisely constitutes innovation is hard to say, let alone measure.’ Some concluded, as a result, that innovation was a ‘new theology’.
However, with a growing chunk of economic growth being driven by industries and products that in fact didn’t exist ten years previously, such dismissals seem increasingly Luddite.
While clarity and precision in thinking about innovation is all-important, it is far from easy…
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