Improving Africa’s knowledge systems: six lessons from Covid-19

The Covid-19 situation is unprecedented and is reshaping various aspects of society, including the way we produce knowledge, share it and use it. In this blog post, Joanes Atela and Nora Ndege of the Africa Sustainability Hub reflect on lessons from diverse experiences across the African continent. Knowledge systems (i.e. how we produce, disseminate and…

a woman in a mask walks in front of a shuttered storefront in Buenos Aires

Coronavirus, crisis and the real Argentine economy: post-pandemic challenges

This article was first published in Spanish in the newspaper Pagina12 on 10 May 2020. Read the original article A window of opportunity is opening to reshape the organization of society, to take better advantage of new technologies and to make it more sustainable and more humane. Argentina, through its successive crises, has developed a…

Sharing knowledge instead of food: TAPESTRY at the Versova Koli Seafood Festival

The TAPESTRY project is working in three different sites across India, creating opportunities for interactions with communities in marginalised environments to co-produce transformative change in sustainable development. In this blog post, Lalatendu Keshari Das shares news from the project’s Mumbai team, which is conducting action research that examines the ways in which fishing communities adapt…

Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces

by Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Makerspaces can be a source of human capabilities that benefit people and society. But these capabilities will only lead to flourishing communities if they are accompanied by structural changes to our economies, cities and environment. Using lasers to precision-cut plywood is not easy. When Toni Buckby began running classes…

helicopter flying with high mountains in background

The 2020 Davos Manifesto: A Manifesto for the Past, Rather than the Future

Out of the networking orgy that is the World Economic Forum (WEF) has emerged the Davos Manifesto 2020: ‘The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.  Unfortunately, the document is likely to fall short in its objective to improve the state of the world, writes Adrian Ely. It’s the 49th anniversary of…

Why does public research money often fail to support sustainable and just food systems?

The European Union and its Member States spend considerable amounts of their budget on supporting Research and Development (R&D) activities. In the summer of 2019, the EU Commission announced how it would spend the last annual tranche of Horizon 2020 – a €77 billion research and innovation funding programme running since 2014. For the Commission,…

Lightbulbs of different shapes and sizes

Doing digital differently: four innovation lessons from the grassroots

by Adrian Smith, Adrian Ely and Phil Jones When Knowle West residents met with artists Paul Hurley and Caleb Parking in 2016, they had little idea they were at the vanguard of grassroots innovation and doing ‘digital’ differently. The meeting was at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), a community-based space in Bristol that uses arts…

Experimentation to action: how Bioleft is helping to grow an open source seed culture

by Almendra Cremaschi, Patrick van Zwanenberg & Anabel Marin The seed breeding initiative Bioleft has received funding to work with more varieties of seeds in Argentina, and to develop a ‘sister’ initiative in Mexico. Bioleft is an ‘open source’, distributed seed breeding initiative that Cenit researchers, in close collaboration with public sector plant breeders, lawyers,…

Control room

When ignorance does more than you think

Unstudied conditions are avoided as vigilantly as possible—right now, when it matters—by control room operators of large critical infrastructures mandated to operate reliably and safely systemwide. Having failed to fail because an operator was behaving ignorantly is orthogonal to high reliability management. That said, ignorance has differentiated functions in large socio-technical systems—but in ways not…

Uncertain futures and the politics of uncertainty

Since writing The Romantic Economist – Imagination in Economics (2009) I have been fascinated by the link between the human capacity to imagine new futures and the prevalence of uncertainty. Imagination is both the ultimate cause of much of the uncertainty we face and our best tool for coping with it. This month sees the…