Innovation Policy Needs, Er, Some Innovation

Wicked ecological and social challenges won’t get solved in this policy rut

Why It Matters

If society wants innovation to tackle major social and environmental challenges, we need to proactively shape innovation policy to accomplish those goals. However, Canada's bifurcated social innovation and mainstream innovation approach lags behind its international peers for building bold mission-oriented interventions our circumstances require.

Humankind has always tended to focus on the upside of new discoveries and innovations, but the past year has put our optimism to the test.

Social media was exploited to undermine U.S. democracy and to incite sectarian violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya. A  scientist in China edited the genes of human embryos, opening the door to a dangerous new era of genetic manipulation. Notable tech luminaries have been issuing warnings about the potential misuses of artificial intelligence, even as the technology progresses rapidly. And the dramatic warnings contained within the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offered a stark reminder of what it means to have mortgaged societal progress to carbon emissions.

As we tally up the socio-economic implications of innovation, there is growing recognition that technology’s gains are primarily accruing to the wealthy. Re

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