Innovations Day 2022

Program - Innovation DAY 2022

13th june 2022 – IUT of Creil & Online

Civil society and innovation capacities in the South

The notions of innovation systems and capacities have been used both by public policies and in academic circles to relate the innovative performance of territories, sectors, regions and nations. Innovation systems represent the connection between actors from the academic and productive worlds. These notions are more globally addressed in the approach to economic and sustainable development and inclusion objectives set by international bodies (such as the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN).

Although the structure of these systems in the economies of the South is very heterogeneous depending on the contexts visited, it is clear that they are often portrayed as disordered, fragmented or disconnected in their development process. However, these systems are supported by actors of all categories who help them to emerge, maintain and perpetuate themselves. These actors, more or less formal, more or less interconnected, constitute significant dynamics that structure and shape innovation capacities. Represented by NGOs or associations, they are called upon to play a key role in the definition of policies and actions in favour of innovation and thus largely contribute to the formation and implementation of innovation capacities. They are sometimes called upon to complement or replace the public authorities when public innovation policies are lacking, hijacked by internal conflicts, corruption or clientelism. But other actors are stakeholders in local learning dynamics: civil society, with village communities, trades, gender, cooperatives, through informal, on-the-job learning, built through indigenous culture (represented by caste systems, languages or lineages), constitutive of traditional knowledge and collective social values. This raises the question of the appropriation of this knowledge and the endogenisation of local knowledge, combining culture, identity, confidence and a thirst for modernity. This bottom-up approach to capacities, identified in frugal innovation or the “Bottom of the Pyramid”, is essential in understanding the current innovation and learning dynamics of the economies of the South. The challenge is to be able to create learning capacities that reconnect with the resources that generate this learning as well as with the macro-economic conditions that territorialise them and allow them to be mobilised in the productive sphere.

The following issues will thus be addressed in the light of the diversity of the territories studied: What participation of civil society actors in the formation of innovation capacities and in their implementation? How do other (formal) institutions integrate them in their process? How in turn can the innovation systems being formed generate capacity transfers to civil society? How do local, indigenous communities form and structure the knowledge base for learning capacities? What are the different forms of learning that are localised and specific to the capacities of Southern economies.


Vanessa Casadella (UPJV, RRI),,

Muriel Cordier (AUF),

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