The innovation track at the WSIS Forum is supported by European Coordination within the framework of the Regional Initiative for Europe on Entrepreneurship , Innnovation and Youth adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014, Dubai. Innovation track consists of four sessions as follows:
Session I: New Frameworks for policy experimentation forstering ICT4D
Developed countries spend significant portion of their GDPs on the inputs to innovation ecosystems such as research, education, and infrastructure, among others. For developing countries struggling with many other priorities, such level of investment may not be possible in the short to medium term.
Innovation policies rely on a range of factors beyond simply investment into inputs to succeed. According to the 2015 Global Innovation report from WIPO, many countries have inefficient innovation policies yielding low returns on investments made in their innovation ecosystem. A holistic approach to understanding the problems and drafting evidence base policies is needed to ensure that these investments are made efficiently and lead to robust innovation ecosystems.
By using ICTs and other tools to work directly with stakeholders in innovation ecosystems and international experts in innovation policy, it is possible to experiment with grassroots policy approaches leading to more robust ecosystems, and effective investments in innovation. The development of strong innovation ecosystems is a key component of national development, as innovation, especially in ICTs, is a driver of economic competitiveness and growth in modern economies.
With the innovation as a core development goal, and ICT as key enabler of it, this session will discuss following points:
• Role and mechanism of ICT as a core driver to innovation driven economies
• Explore grassroots approaches to evidence base ICT centric innovation policy
• Role of key stakeholders in making innovation policy work
Format: presentation followed by panel discussion
Session II: Unleashing Innovation Potential with ICT4D
In recent years, innovation has risen dramatically in the development agendas of the private and public sectors. Current development thinking and agendas embrace innovation as a means to foster sustainable development and inclusive growth in terms of both economic growth and the application of innovative technologies to ICT4D. Innovation is a process leveraging creativity and solving user centric needs, and can be guided in directions that not only develop economies, but serve key social functions as well. In doing so, social entrepreneurs and entrapreneurs can discover spaces where they can do good in the world while doing well in the marketplace.
This session will explore user driven innovation processes to help unleash potential by “promoting creativity methodologies for Sustainable Development ” in the both public and private sectors. The panel will look at the innovation process using creative thinking, experimentation, empathy and sharing of best practices to solve key development problems and create innovative ICT4D solutions.
Format: presentation followed by panel discussion
Session III: Emerging ICT Trends: Open Source Technologies for Sustainable Development
For the past decade, innovation spurred by open source technologies has offered new possibilities, expanded markets and offered alternative business models in the ICT market. It has gained in stature as increasingly organizations and companies include it due to its flexibility and collaborative nature, but also its potential benefits: such as sharing risk, reducing lead times, improving quality and interoperability, as well as softer "network effects". With significantly reduced R&D costs, especially important for new entrants, solutions can be brought to market faster and in a more timely fashion. It also leads to a global trend where many governments invest in technologies and standards to ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace and to build the capacity of their digital economies.
The discussion of this session will provide an overview of the possibilities, the barriers preventing their up-scale and growth, challenges and opportunities in open source, and share best practices and know-how. The panel will also look at how multiple stakeholders can support the micro-ecosystems surrounding these technologies, including policy measures, regulatory means and spurring investment, and adoption and development of the technologies.
Session IV: New Partners and Networks Supporting Innovation in ICT4D
ICT entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs driving innovation ecosystems are facing challenges and opportunities in today’s fast changing environment. Problems of access to market opportunities, support networks, and research and knowledge institutions require that key activities be taken by innovation stakeholders to foster the growth and development of innovation ecosystems.
Some of these activities are policies and roles which have been part of supporting innovation ecosystems for decades and which remain critical to the development of innovative economies. Others are new activities and new roles requiring the involvement of new stakeholders. This evolution in the support of innovation ecosystems must be understood in order to ensure that they develop and support both economies and ICT4D solutions.
Because so many of these activities are new in nature and in the stakeholders they engage, it is critical that collaboration be fostered in order to set the new stakeholders firmly in their roles in the ecosystems, and to ensure that best practices and knowledge are shared widely, both within ecosystems and internationally.
This session will discuss the following points:
• Mechanisms to nurture new collaborative networks and access to markets
• New initiatives to support scaling and competitiveness of innovation ecosystems
• Changing roles of stakeholders in supporting this