Innovation for sustainability, 5 op
This course introduces a transformative, sustainability-oriented perspective on innovation. A mainstream perspective on innovation has been dominating since the birth of the innovation studies in the 1970s but has recently begun to give way for broader social perspective. This is because of a growing awareness of enormous environmental and social global concerns but also because of changes in academic thinking. According to mainstream perspectives, economic growth is been fueled by innovations and this growth makes it possible to correct social and environmental problems. Now emerging schools of thought has stated that instead focusing on social and environmental problems through the deployment of science, technology and innovation (STI) may provide new sources of wealth and welfare on a more equitable basis.
The first part of the course is devoted to the investigation of the key innovation approaches, theories and concepts. These lectures and discussions offer students an introduction to understand innovation-based development. Here, the course also introduces a link between innovation and sustainability that will be further investigated during the latter part of the course.
The second part of the course links local and bottom-up approach to recent discussions concerning concepts and ideas such as frugal innovations, openness and inclusiveness as a part of the knowledge-based development. Through literature, case material, group work and discussion, students will explore how a sustainability-oriented transformative perspective redefines the requirements for innovation policy and practice. There will be also several workshops that introduce the students to some relevant techniques to analyze innovation policy or practice in the making.
The course is especially addressed to the students that wishes to understand how and in which conditions innovations may work as a tool for sustainability. The spatial context of innovation covers both the global north and south. The course is designed for those who are planning to work in academia or policy-making fields as an expert in innovation policy analysis and design. The course will also be useful for those who plan to work in innovative business as practitioners as knowledge obtained from this course can be used for finding new niches and innovative solutions of high social impact and responsibility.