Conference Focuses on the Role of Emerging Technologies in Developing Countries

June 19, 2012
By Jenny Li Fowler

The recent International Conference on Technology and Innovation for Global Development, held at Harvard Kennedy School in early June, brought together experts from around the world to discuss how emerging technologies are shaping global economies of human well-being. The conference was held in conjunction with the annual Innovation for Economic Development executive program and coincided with the anniversary of the publication of Joseph Schumpeter’s seminal work, The Theory of Economic Development (1911).

The President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, gave the keynote address. “We believe that optimization of development is possible and that any optimization starts with science, technology and innovation.”

Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, stressed the importance of investing in the engineering sciences as a foundation for prosperity in his welcoming speech.

“The goal of the conference was to assemble a commemorative series of activities on the intellectual legacy of Schumpeter with specific reference to developing countries,” said Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development and conference chair.

Conference participants from academia, industry, government and civil society discussed the ways in which Schumpeter’s ideas remain relevant today in both policy development and practice. Discussion topics included process innovation, market development and innovation in development history, to name a few.

This conference was co-organized by the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and the Center of Excellency PoliMaT - Polymer Materials and Technologies, Slovenia

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Calestous Juma speaks to an audience.

Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development

“The goal of the conference was to assemble a commemorative series of activities on the intellectual legacy of Schumpeter with specific reference to developing countries,” said Calestous Juma.

Venkatesh Narayanamurti addresses the group.

Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy