Technological Innovation and Development

Papaioannou, Theo (2024). Technological Innovation and Development. In: Dauncey, Emil; Desai, Vandana and Potter, Robert eds. The Companion to Development Studies, 4th Edition. Routledge, (in press).


Technological innovation is concerned with (basic and applied) research and development (R&D) which generate of ‘physical technologies’ as well as with social practices and institutional structures which constitute ‘social technologies’. Although both types of technological innovation can be transformative of peoples’ lives and capabilities, promoting international development, they also tend to exclude the very poor thereby increasing inequalities and creating ecological problems and other negative consequences. In response to these, the adoption of MDGs and subsequent SDGs has confirmed the normative and practical necessity of shifting policy focus from innovation-led growth to innovation-led equality, redefining the mission of R&D driven technology and innovation as the reduction of poverty and inequality, and the elimination of extreme deprivation. In addition, emerging models of ‘frugal’ and ‘grassroots or below the radar’ innovations in low- and middle-income countries are drawing on traditional knowledge and available technologies, promoting inclusion.

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