Thursday, September 12, 2013

Multilateral Collaboration and Innovation for the Global Commons

As a follow up to the OECD STIG project on governance of research and innovation cooperation for global challenges, Dr. Keith Smith of Imperial College has prepared a paper on multinational collaboration.

Photo: Thorsten Schmitt,

We hope the document can provide input to the important discussion on how the the worlds of policy making, science and industrial innovation can contribute in the face of urgent global challenges. The paper is part of the efforts of the informal Beyond Stig network.

Below find a summary and a link to the full document. Please feel free to add your own comments!

Multilateral collaboration and innovation for the global commons: polycentric governance in a heteropolar world

By Dr. Keith Smith

The ‘grand challenges’ posed by climate change, food security, ocean ecologies, epidemic disaease and urban environments are so large that they will soon dominate policy thinking globally.

Innovation is central to solving these problems, because they are shaped by incumbent technologies that must be changed.

Lack of framework

But innovation policy initiatives must be multilateral, because the outcomes will be globally shared, and the resources needed will be great.  We lack a framework for thinking about how such collaboration might be organised. 

Innovative solutions would in effect provide global public goods. However the usual approach to public good provision fails at the world scale because there is no supranational or hegemonic power that can undertake the roles played by states at the national level.