Towards Better Models
Edited by Stefan Kuhlmann and Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros
Chapter 2: Science, technology and innovation policy that is responsive to innovation performers
Science, technology and innovation (STI) policy in the global South is underperforming partly because the starting point of policymaking is often not as relevant to context as it ought to be. To correct this policymakers should draw more from their lived reality and ask deeper questions rather than accepting the status quo. STI policy in many developing countries has paid insufficient attention to the perspectives of innovation performers and that policy is either silent or deeply flawed. This chapter provides a Kuhnian explanation as to why there has been limited progress by suggesting that innovation studies is experiencing a period of intellectual lock-in characterized by the dominant tradition crowding out other voices, explanations and traditions rather than accepting richness and diversity. Micro-foundation explanations, particularly a focus on learning and capability building, and user perspectives on innovation do not receive as much attention as systems perspectives. In addition, there is a near invisibility of Southern voices in the conceptual agenda and the specifics some developing country regions such as Africa and small island nations are ignored even by so-called development institutions, with the result that, even when innovation studies is operationalized in development programming, it is framed as though the conceptual underpinnings have emanated from the global North. Many interventions and transformations are needed to improve the performance of STI policy in the global South.
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