Transforming Our World: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Proposal for a Colombian Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Programme of Experimentation with a Strong Regional Focus

Policy Resources

Abstract

Science, Technology and Innovation policy play a central role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Colombia has been very active in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which embodies the most pressing challenges of today, from education and equality to climate change. These goals are not just targets, and they should not be seen in isolation: together, they provide a roadmap for the transformations required to support our future.

This report describes the Transformative Innovation Policy approach to innovation policy, to address the SDGs through science, technology and innovation in Colombia. This approach departs from conventional assumptions about the value of innovation in society, often linked to economic growth, and instead proposes that innovation should focus on systems change, that is, changes in the practices, infrastructures, capabilities, culture, technologies, etc. of the socio-technical systems that that sustain the way we live (cities, water supply, transportation, food, healthcare, etc.).

From this perspective, the environment and society are not just externalities, but instead they are a central and active part of the innovation process. In addition to socio-technical systems, a key notion of a transformative innovation approach is “directionality”, by which we mean the societal values and attributes desired in a process of change. In fact, the SDGs can be read in terms of “socio-technical systems” (i.e. clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy, etc.) and “directionalities” (i.e. gender equality, reduction of inequalities, climate change).

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