Adressing Grand Challenges: denovation policy as the logical next step following the normative turn in innovation policy
(Imperial College London)
Rick Bosman (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Paper short abstract:
The first decade of the 21st century has seen a normative turn in policy aimed at promoting innovations to tackle grand societal challenges. We argue that the logical next step is 'denovation policy' aimed at discouraging activities that contribute to exacerbating these grand challenges.
Paper long abstract:
The main objective of innovation policy in the 20th century was to boost competitiveness, bring economic growth and create jobs. The first decade of the 21st century has seen a normative turn resulting in a policy agenda explicitly addressing 'grand' or 'societal' challenges. By putting grand challenges at the central focus for innovation policy, one cannot omit that certain activities can also have negative outcomes and contribute to lock-in trajectories that exacerbate grand challenges. Therefore, we argue that the logical next step following the normative turn in innovation policy, is a focus on how to discourage activities and industries that contribute to exacerbating grand challenges. We argue that this is a blind spot of the current innovation discourse and propose to call policy with this specific aim 'denovation policy'. We argue that denovation policy consists of two main parts. First, innovation policy should stop addressing those activities that contribute to exacerbating grand challenges. Second, it should look for ways to actively discontinue these activities in a socially acceptable way. We support our argument with examples from Dutch innovation policy
Innovation: Discourses, politics, societies, and blind spots