Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj and Vera Ivanaj
Chapter 3: Sustainable development through innovation? A social challenge
Innovation is valued in our societies, and people have faith in its ability to solve human problems, even if the past shows a mixed record. This is why we should not be surprised that, as for other important human challenges, people and institutions turn to technology as a possible solution to the environmental crisis, forgetting that science and technology are also at the origin of this particular crisis. But the innovation challenge is now better understood: after having been presented as a miraculous process that would naturally solve the ecological crisis, it is more and more seen as a tool that needs to be managed in order to accomplish what is needed. In this chapter, I propose to analyze how sustainable development challenges have become more precise and might lead to a new generation of public policies regarding the economy and innovation. Those policies would adopt a new position towards the market and the economy, recognizing that they have to be regulated differently to produce wealth instead of negative externalities. Moreover, they would more actively engage private actors in sustainability innovation processes, recognizing that new actors, like civil society, can also play a role. And finally, innovation has to be managed in order to respond to society’s challenge of sustainable development.
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