So what is innovation?

Joel Adriano
South-East Asia & Pacific regional coordinator, SciDev.Net

While grassroots innovation has become a buzzword nowadays, scientists themselves have yet to agree to a common idea of what exactly an innovation is.

This was stressed by Adrian Ely, head of impact and engagement of the STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre, during day 2 of the Planet Under Pressure conference. He says most would define it as traditional knowledge. Others would prefer to expand it to local actions that have the potential to contribute to building a green economy.

Melissa Leach, director of the STEPS Centre, added that the greatest challenge right now is how to spot a grassroots innovation and identify if it is going to be a game changer that could make an impact on sustainable development. She emphasized that key here is not just a single innovation making waves but rather it would be a recombination of existing knowledge that has the potential for solutions.

This blog post is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.


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