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1. What is innovation for ecological transformation?

What is innovation for ecological transformation?

Introduction
Tejas Bachiraju, India Boschet, Grace Chua, Julian Lambin and Kite Insights
p. 4-5

Full text

  • 1 Rockström, J., Gupta, J., Qin, D., Lade, S.J., Abrams, J.F., Andersen, L.S., Armstrong McKay, D.I., (...)

1Ecological transformation requires us to consider many challenges and trade-offs at once. We are not facing one crisis but many. Among the environmental crises we face are climate change, resource use, pollution, biodiversity loss and many others; in each of these areas, we are close to or have already crossed critical planetary boundaries for a safe and liveable planet.1

  • 2 IPCC, 2023: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report.Contribution of Wor (...)

2At the same time, social inequality, climate justice and a just transition must also be addressed; the same communities that have done the least to cause the environmental emergencies we face often stand to lose the most as a consequence of them.2 In this context, innovation for the ecological transformation can, and must, mean many things.

3This first section explores different models and definitions of innovation. It challenges us to think about why we innovate and how we innovate, inviting a more holistic and broader understanding of innovation. Grounding this conversation, Armand Hatchuel shares a history of the notion of innovation, tracking its evolution from early modernity through to current notions of “responsible innovation”.

4Crucial to our progress is understanding the limitations of narrow conceptions of innovation. Franck Aggeri highlights the inherent challenges of techno-centric and short-termist approaches to innovation; highlighting the importance of approaches that make innovators more responsible for the long-term consequences of their projects, and that promote solutions that are more frugal, centering on transforming lifestyles and modes of production and consumption. In the same vein, Jean Paul Raillard shares how maintenance and renewal can be central pillars of new approaches to innovation, moving away from a focus on new inventions.

5The nature of innovation is only one aspect of our understanding that should change in support of ecological transformation. We must also consider where innovation comes from, and what outcomes it supports for which people. Using the context of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, Olivier Gilbert shares examples of social innovation that enables grassroots communities to access jobs and other opportunities while meeting environmental goals and carbon budgets. Professor Saradindu Bhaduri highlights the power of wider understandings of innovation to include and empower communities that are not traditionally seen as part of innovation ecosystems, and shares reflections on the economic and legal reforms needed to unleash this potential.

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Notes

1 Rockström, J., Gupta, J., Qin, D., Lade, S.J., Abrams, J.F., Andersen, L.S., Armstrong McKay, D.I., Bai, X., Bala, G., Bunn, S.E. and Ciobanu, D., 2023. Safe and just Earth system boundaries. Nature, pp.1-10.

2 IPCC, 2023: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report.Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, H. Lee and J. Romero (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-34.

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References

Bibliographical reference

Tejas Bachiraju, India Boschet, Grace Chua, Julian Lambin and Kite Insights, “What is innovation for ecological transformation?”Field Actions Science Reports, Special Issue 25 | 2023, 4-5.

Electronic reference

Tejas Bachiraju, India Boschet, Grace Chua, Julian Lambin and Kite Insights, “What is innovation for ecological transformation?”Field Actions Science Reports [Online], Special Issue 25 | 2023, Online since 10 November 2023, connection on 22 February 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/factsreports/7089

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About the authors

Tejas Bachiraju

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India Boschet

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Grace Chua

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Julian Lambin

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Kite Insights

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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