The most pressing problem for Humankind – if it keeps avoiding a nuclear holocaust – is to manage
the increasing contradiction between production and sustainability that has opened the possibility of
a climate holocaust. Such contradiction and the related increasing inequality reframe development as
a global issue for both South and North as the Sustainable Development Goals make clear. Assuming
that development involves values, facts, trends and proposals, new alternatives are discussed. That is
done in connection with two well-known conceptual frameworks for innovation policies: National
Innovation Systems and Transformative Change. Both are considered from a Southern perspective.
Both suggest that special attention must be given to the issue of power; for that the focus is put on the
interactions between technology and economic, political, ideological and military relations. From that
point of view the notion of underdevelopment is revisited. In such context specific traits complicate
the global challenges. But the capability of innovation in scarcity conditions that many regions of the
South have been obliged and able to build opens alternatives for a world in need of frugal and
inclusive innovation. Main conclusions point to the role of knowledge democratization and
developmental coalitions in transitions to sustainability based on collective learning.