A growing concern about the “grand societal challenges” such as climate change and inclusion is appearing within the science, technology and innovation academic and practitioner community. The clearest expression of this shift is perhaps expressed by the emerging interest in the “transformative change” literature and in particular transformative innovation policy, which stresses the transformative role of policy in addressing socioeconomic challenges, such as the sustainable development goals compiled by the UN. This is not a minor issue as environment, ageing, migration, are global challenges or so-called wicked problems that require joint efforts but also regional responses.
In response to this, the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) based at the University of Sussex in the UK took the initiative in 2016 to launch the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) to provide a framework for these transformative innovation policies and is working in different contexts and countries in order to experiment with this concept. Colombia is one of the countries participating and I have been part of the team that was early this month in Bogota sharing ideas and participating in training with Colombian regional policy makers and academics. The transformative innovation approach is rooted in the idea of socio-technical transitions and strategic niche management literature. Nevertheless in Colombia regional innovation policy can play a key role in facilitating transitions and evolutionary economic geography and smart specialization strategies could contribute to this process as they share some commonalities.