The impact on government policy around the world of the latest thinking in innovation from TIPC and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, was highlighted this week with the unveiling of Colombia’s new post-conflict Science, Technology and Innovation strategy. At its core is Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP). TIP is a game-changing approach for science, tech and innovation developed by the TIPC team of researchers and policymakers, based on the influential paper – Three Frames for Innovation Policy: R&D; Systems of Innovation and Transformative Change – by Professor Johan Schot, Director of SPRU, and Professor Ed Steinmueller, Professor of Information Technology from the Unit based at the School of Business, Management and Economics.

TIP sets out an alternative thinking on how to harness the power of science, technology and innovation (STI) to meet a country’s development needs to deliver growth and well-being for all. The rationale at the heart of the new Colombian policy launch concentrates not only on economic factors, but also on placing front and centre the challenge of solving social and environmental problems to meet growth targets. By shifting emphasis, policies and initiatives can give rise to actual transformation for society and the environment – an essential element in Colombia’s post-conflict reconstruction.  Work began with SPRU three years ago to remodel the country’s STI strategy to focus on new transformative thinking for positive outcomes that can alleviate causes of social inequality and conflict.

Following the 2016 peace treaty, this week’s launch of the ‘Green Book 2030: Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development(the equivalent of a Green Paper in the UK) is central to the promise of a ‘New Colombia’. For reconciliation and progress, the emphasis is on social justice and development that is environmentally conscious and sustainable to preserve both the peace accord and the unique biodiversity of the region. The transformative policy document creates a road-map towards alternative paths for meeting the aims outlined in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.  The unveiling of the ‘Green Book 2030’ by Colombia’s Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Colciencias, is the launch pad for this new direction.

At the milestone event, Professor Johan Schot outlined the research thinking from which the new strategy is conceived. Giving the keynote address at the opening, Professor Schot discussed ‘Addressing Sustainable Development Goals: What is the Role for Transformative Innovation?’ Professor Schot’s message was to think of the SDGs as a whole interactive system which needs to transform, beginning with experimentation and then subsequent implementation of fundamentally new ways of provision for people and the planet. For Colombia, he said, this involves: continued investment in knowledge production that is strongly focused on the SDGs with an expanded definition of knowledge to incorporate multiple viewpoints and perspectives from diverse sections of society; orientation of the university system to be more interdisciplinary with a concentration on research impact; a restructure of the systems of innovation in the country to be more inclusive and participatory to enable engagement in transformative change; and finally, development and implementation of Transformative Innovation Policy with suitable evaluation practice. Professor Schot said:

“With the unveiling of this transformative strategy, Colciencias proposes to make transformative innovation policy a national policy. This is an important milestone for TIPC and SPRU’s work. I am honoured, proud, and thankful to have been in the position to work on this new perspective with colleagues and policymakers. I admire Colciencias Director, Alejandro Olaya who is willing to put forward a radical, game-changing proposal in such a clear and practical way. I feel supported by colleagues in the TIPC network who also believe in this direction. We hope to make Colombia and the world a better place through transformative change.”

 Matias Ramirez, TIPC Colombia lead and Senior Lecturer at SPRU, said:

“Not only does the ‘Green Book 2030’ explain the need for a radical change in policy, it also states that a fundamental re-orientation of funding will be necessary and proposes concrete steps as to how to do it. As a policy document this stands out as a radical and audacious proposal. I believe it will have a major impact outside of Colombia as well, especially in Latin America.” 

Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “Through our Science Policy Research Unit in the School of Business, Management and Economics, and world-leading expertise in development studies, the University of Sussex has been at the forefront of innovation and global development for the past 50 years. This ambitious project with the Colombian government is exactly the type of transformative work that Sussex has become known for and that is essential for tackling the grand challenges around the world. This is big thinking at its very best and highlights the significant international impact that TIPC is making.”

The Green Book 2030 launch was attended by many thought-leaders and game-changers from the STI arena including universities, research centres, civil society, national and regional programmes, other government ministries, corporations and businesses, and the media. The Bogota Chamber of Commerce recently launched a call to firms for initiatives around sustainable development and their contribution to the SDG 2030 agenda expanding businesses’ role in the delivery of the aims. The unveiling of Colombia’s transformative ‘Green Book 2030: Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development’ marks a significant moment in the history of Transformative Innovation Policy thinking and, more importantly, in the development of a new, peaceful and prosperous Colombia.

For more information please contact Geraldine Bloomfield, TIPC communications Manager:g.bloomfield@sussex.ac.uk

Find out more about Colciencias at http://www.colciencias.gov.co/ or follow them on twitter @Colciencias


Pictures of the event on 22nd May 2018