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Call for abstracts: ‘Post-automation’ Symposium, September 2019

A call for paper proposals has been issued for an international symposium on ‘post-automation’ at the University of Sussex in September 2019. STEPS members Adrian Smith (SPRU, University of Sussex) and Mariano Fressoli (Steps America Latina) are holding the symposium, on the theme of ‘Post-Automation? Exploring Democratic Alternatives to Industry 4.0’. The Symposium is hosted…

Makerspaces: Creating inclusive spaces for sustainable innovations

Making stuff is all the rage these days. But how does sustainable development fit into this enthusiasm? The White House is celebrating a Week of Making from June 16-23 2016 after hosting its first Maker Faire in 2014 to spark a “grassroots renaissance in American making and manufacturing”. The hope is that by exposing people…

Adrian Smith interviewed on Spanish radio about innovation, technology & society

Adrian Smith, convenor of our Grassroots Innovation research, was recently interviewed on Spanish radio about the role that technology plays in social relations. In the interview, for the Spanish station Radio 3, Adrian discussed different types of basic innovations, such as those taking place in agroecology and eco-construction, and how they form part of a…

INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT GLOBELICS

By Julia Day, STEPS Centre Communications Manager How can innovation contribute to social justice and sustainable development goals? Two of the STEPS Centre’s members will be debating this issue in Argentina next month at the 9th Globelics International Conference in Buenos Aires.Adrian Ely and Adrian Smith will be speaking on the panel of the “Innovation for Social Inclusion and Sustainable…

BRAZIL: WHAT LIES BEHIND THE NATURAL KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member The tone of the launch of Demos’ Brazil, the Natural Knowledge Economy report by Kirsten Bound, was aimed at boosting innovative activities and potential in the country in general. The distributional consequences (social and environmental) of that innovation were acknowledged as a challenge, but not covered at the event,…

COMPLEXITY, SIMPLIFICATION AND RESILIENCE

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Complexity pervaded debate at the Resilience Alliance conference last month. In one way or another, participants tried to get to grips with the sheer complexities of the socio-ecological systems that concerned them, and puzzled over the kinds of adaptive governance that might ensure these systems provided resilient livelihoods to…

BIOFUELLED PATHWAYS TO SUSTAINABILITY?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Last week, Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, and one of the sponsors of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, joined an increasingly audible group of voices arguing for a system of sustainability standards for biofuels. Without such a system, operating robustly at the international level, Achim feared a backlash…

POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE IN SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-TECHNICAL TRANSITIONS

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg brought forward cross-cutting commitments to a ten-year framework of programmes on sustainable production and consumption systems (i.e. environmentally sound and socially just). An increasing number of governments, businesses and civil society groups are considering how reformed governance might bring such…

LOCKED OUT OF THE INNOVATION PROCESS?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Wealthier, northern societies are deeply embedded in unsustainable technological practices and consumption patterns, but these development paths tend to lock-out poorer communities in the south. And current drivers of globalisation risk furthering these processes of problematic inclusion and exclusion in different settings. (photo credit: Trevor Samson/World Bank)STEPS co-director Andy…