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Symposium 2015

Solution for Promoting Innovation to Achieve Inclusive Growth

The Challenge

“Inclusive Growth” refers to sustained economic growth while at the same time improving equal access to opportunities among (groups of) individuals and reducing income disparities (ADB 2011). It ...

“Inclusive Growth” refers to sustained economic growth while at the same time improving equal access to opportunities among (groups of) individuals and reducing income disparities (ADB 2011). It aims to provide different groups of a society with equal opportunities to participate in economic development processes, thus enhancing the living standards and promoting mobility across different social groups. A key driver of future development in the world is “innovation”.

The Role of Technology for Sustainable, Equitable Growth

Sometime back, I initiated a study and a survey of new inventions that could have the most favorable and sustainable impact on the lives and livelihoods of a majority of people on our planet (i.e., at least three and a half billion people).

We identified six anchor themes where the world desperately needs break-through inventions.

1. Green Energy
Affordable, abundant, renewable, readily accessible, off-grid energy that is neither carbon-fuel-based nor nuclear, nor controlled and distributed by big business.
2. Water
Safe, affordable, water and sanitation for all.
3. Housing
Affordable, durable, homes, built with green building materials for billions of poor people.
4. Food
Sufficient, nutritious affordable food crops—not genetically modified, but produced with better yields, and organic fertilizers. Organic farming can double, even treble production, with less water usage.
5. Education and Skills for all
Through new technologies, and providing perceptibly equal opportunities for growth, and equality before the law.
6. Health and Prevention of Disease

 

There is documented evidence that enough original work has already been done in each of these six domains, and the relevant technologies are virtually on the cusp of being gainfully commercialized. But there are two strong impediments that tend to slow down the process.


A. Suppression of new inventions by entrenched monopolies
B. Lack of even moderate finance to fund this research fast enough for commercialization

Key Action Agenda

  • Prompt governments to create unmistakable tax incentives for encouraging such research and make it viable.
  • Decouple scientific inventions from profit-oriented commercial exploitation and focus on how pooling of collective know-how can fast-track the process.
  • Promote Shared Research through Open Source innovation, precluding the priority to patent and make money. Saving lives and improving livelihoods is a great reward in itself.

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