Colombia – A Snapshot from the Inception Visit

Thinking & Analysis



“Transformative Innovation Policy above all is about changes in the socio-technical systems that involve multi-actors, address social and societal issue directly, have the potential to be disruptive and open the prospect of different routes that are both sustainable and inclusive.”

Matias Ramirez, Alejandro Olaya , Maria Isabel Agudelo and Claudia Obando, Colombian TIPC Team

Colombia stands at a pivotal and significant point in its history. This coming year the post-conflict agreement will begin implementation and the hope is that those areas and communities that suffered through displacement and violence will be able to benefit from policies and practices based on principles of inclusion and sustainability that help those most marginalised.

The values of inclusion and sustainability are central to the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC). The initial inception analysis by the TIPC team working with Colombian policy makers explored activities in policy that shared elements of ‘third frame’ of innovation policy (or as it is also termed, Innovation Policy 3.0.). These included Colciencias’s social innovation programmes, urban renewal initiatives around RUTA N in Medellin and the development of inclusive agri-food investments incorporating small farmers. These programmes have as a defining feature the importance of users and common outputs a positive social impact. These are central strands of 3rd frame innovation policy.

Transformative Innovation Policy has at its core achieving beneficial societal and environmental impacts. These outcomes are highly relevant for the ongoing post-conflict period in Colombia. Orientating innovation policy towards activities that may be perceived as “inclusive” can develop innovations that help transform communities and lives. Innovation policy design which embraces ‘frame 3’ thinking could help facilitate these outcomes. Over the next period we will create a platform for policy experimentation around transformative innovation policy in Colombia and incorporate policy makers, practitioners and other actors from Colombia in this process.

“When I started working at Colciencias, I knew that I had to work with the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). It was one of the first things I did, for policy design and evaluation. With Johan a team from SPRU then came for a week and trained around 25 colleagues across other ministerial agencies also. In this first training visit SPRU were very open to understanding our policies, our practices and cases, and our challenge as a country. We realised we can work together for a major purpose on (transformative innovation policy.)

The first inception visit, people at Colciencias understood that it was working together and not as ‘experts’ visiting from another country. Everything is to build together. Collaborative learning was for me the key point. I think we are accomplishing that.”

Snapshot view of the visit from Alejandro Olaya,
Deputy Director of Colciencias, Colombia

Matias Ramirez, Senior Lecturer at SPRU and TIPC Country Lead for Colombia discusses elements of transformative innovation policy in Colombia

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Links to papers

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