Tag Archives: research

Innovating for Sustainable Development – it’s everyone’s business!

For decades, science, technology, and innovation were exclusive elements for more developed countries. Investment in research and development is still as low as it could get in developing countries. Even with the most talented individuals, research and development are confined within labs with minimal market and public interaction. This cannot be the case anymore as collective local actions are instrumental for global change.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) not only highlight innovation as a goal but also emphasize the value of innovation to achieve other goals. Whether it be education, energy, health, climate change or poverty that we strive to address, science, technology, and innovation will need to be tackled in a participatory and inclusive manner to ensure benefit to the public. Building sustainable economic clusters and social businesses around new technologies are only possible though widely-enabled innovations from the full spectrum of community; including women, youth and indigenous communities. Connecting local technological needs with global opportunities is a common challenge in many countries that requires us all to be more conscious of market dynamics and social inclusiveness. The ability to recognize local technological needs and capabilities is core to create a value proposition that maximizes economic productivity and competitiveness.

Boosting local innovation might be the magical recipe for progressing on sustainable development goals if the ingredients are made available. Less developed countries need support to shape suitable models for innovation within the context of sustainable development. Lessons learned so far indicate that the public sector might not be the key driver for innovation. Businesses, on the other hand, play a substantial role in accelerating innovation as investors and consumers. However, the real catalysts for sustainable innovation are not yet fully empowered. Universities, research institutions, think tanks and NGOs are requested to step into the driver seat to define the needs and connect the dots. These players should be better equipped to understand local development challenges and convert them into innovation opportunities. Civil society organizations and scientists combining both knowledge and community power can advocate for an inclusive and enabling policy and regulatory environment that bolsters and celebrates local innovation.

Raleigh and the Jordanian dream!

I have never expected such a great welcoming impactful nature from Raleigh, NC. The people, the space, the events, the signs, the streets, the mindset… all contribute to the brain/talent attraction and development.

I was honored to meet Governor Bev Perdue during the grand opening for the North Carolina Museum for Natural Science. The City, People, Streets, Children, Cultural diversity, food, green products, music, all were there. Raleigh people say they never witnessed such a festival here before. It is all about science and growing the talent! It is amzing to see how the efforts came together to get this big Science center and huge event done. Many special features like having the chance to watch real scientists at their labs are quite special to this museum.

Governor Perdue is a great supporter of green economy and having met some of her team members, I can tell these people are making a difference.

I enjoyed being pampered by the US Eisenhower Fellows from NC (Jean Davis, Don Hobart and Rob Burns) as well as their colleagues, contacts, relatives, etc. What a City! It reminded me with the Arab/Jordanian hospitality and genuine nature. Despite the multi-cultural climate, it only added to its openness and intergative image. Eisenhower Fellowships need to continue recruiting more Fellows like those!

Everything here is oreinted towards supporting the ‘knowledge-based economy’ goal and all resources are directed in that direction. Allow me to quote the wise kind Charles Hayes – President and CEO of Research Traingle Regional Partnership when I asked for his advice for Jordan’s big dream of pursuing knowledge-based economy: become a Country that “grows talent, retains talent and recruits talent”.

I got inspired indeed by the streamlined efforts towards achieveing this in North Calorina/Raleigh. I hope Jordan my beloved Country would one day build on all its great human resources and strong well to optimize the impact of its talents.

Earth Policy Instiute – credibility along the way

One of the unique models for non-for-profit think tanks and research focused instiutes that has been managing to maintain its credibility and neutrality along the ‘tough’ way. Founded by Lester Brown, EPI is positioned as a key resource entity for fact-based advocacy. Matt Roney gave a comprehensive overview of the overarching principles and the main activities of EPI. We also discussed the future of food and agriculture – a subject being tackled by Lester these days. He indicated that EPI is reluctant to accept sponsorships that are not in line with its overarching direction. The list available at this link, http://www.earth-policy.org/about_epi/C91, shows the relative importance of our various funding sources: “…supported by financial contributions from foundations and individuals, along with income from publication sales, honoraria, and royalties.

 To me, this is a great model but only if maintained on the long-term through a business plan that would be linked with a corporate sustainability startegy.

One of the interesting initatives that EPI is taking on board is translation of some of its books and publications to some languages.

Takeaways: can we assist in sharing EPI rich resources with institutions and individuals in Jordan through our Jordan GBC database and my own list of contacts? can we help in translating some of the relevant resources to Arabic?

What is to learn by our research institutions from the EPI experience?

Willing to volunteer? let me know.