Towards innovation democracy? Participation, responsibility and precaution in innovation governance

Working Paper
  • Published 13/02/15
  • ISBN: 978-1-78118-212-3

STEPS Working Paper 78
by Andy Stirling

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Innovation is about more than technological invention. It involves change of many kinds: cultural, organisational and behavioural as well as technological. So, in a world crying out for social justice and ecological care, innovation holds enormous progressive potential.

Yet there are no guarantees that any particular realised innovation will necessarily be positive. Indeed, powerful forces ‘close down’ innovation in the directions favoured by the most privileged interests. So harnessing the positive transformative potential for innovation in any given area, is not about optimizing some single self-evidently progressive trajectory in a ‘race to the future’. Instead, it is about collaboratively exploring diverse and uncertain pathways – in ways that deliberately balance the spurious effects of incumbent power. In other words, what is needed is a more realistic, rational and vibrant ‘innovation democracy’.

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