Rapid Innovation Action Learning in East Asia: Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam – March 11-13, 2010
Is the Climate Right for Innovation?
The World Bank Institute (WBI), the Korea Development Institute, and the East Asia and Pacific region will be delivering a Rapid Innovation Action Learning (RIAL) program for Cambodia, Mongolia, and Vietnam on promoting innovation policy for growth and competitiveness.
RIAL is a learning process to help stakeholders develop a common framework for analyzing whether a country’s polices and systems are innovation friendly. RIAL is a multistage process culminating with collaborative action-learning workshops for several countries, after which the learning is applied in operational work. A similar initiative is underway in the Middle East North Africa Region, involving Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Academics and practitioners agree that innovation is a key component of economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in developing countries where new approaches and technologies help provide entry into the 21st century global economy. Innovation can be defined as the application of new ideas, technologies, or processes to productive activities, in a given context. Technological innovation should thus be broadly understood as not only the creation of new knowledge and technology and the adaptation of existing ones, but more importantly, the diffusion and use of technologies, products, processes, and practices that are new in a given country context.
Innovation is, therefore, about the transformation of traditional sectors into higher value-added, knowledge intensive sectors, as well as increased investments in new and emerging technology-intensive sectors. Increasing value-added through innovation is often mistakenly associated exclusively with high-tech. To the contrary, “low-tech” sectors such as food processing, textiles, and furniture manufacturing, can often generate large gains in value-added through the local adoption of already existing technology and processes.
What are the benefits of RIAL?
- It helps countries think through, formulate, and implement coherent innovation policies that take into account the multiple players and sectors normally involved in successful innovation;
- To facilitate South-South knowledge exchange, it brings together people from government, business, and universities from various countries who have different experiences and perspectives that they can share;
- Connecting these people and the knowledge they bring to the table is also a first step in building Communities of Practice on innovation policy;
- The cutting edge learning materials developed for this program are offered to local partners as a way of “wholesaling” RIAL;
- RIAL provides a baseline snapshot of innovation policy for each country that can be used by the Bank and others for more in-depth work, and to support aid coordination among different donors;
- It paves the way, or provides inputs, to future in-country Bank projects.
The RIAL process is based on analytical and operational work, including the forthcoming “Innovation Policy Guidebook” developed by WBI’s Skills and Innovation Policy Team and various internal and external partners.