Professor delivers inaugural lecture on innovation and climate change

Fred Steward, professor of innovation and sustainability at PSI gave his inaugural lecture 9th February. The lecture was titled: 'Desperately seeking a new transformative discourse: What sort of innovation policy is needed to meet the challenge of climate change?'

Steward's theme was that significant innovation is essential to achieving a successful transition to a low-carbon society. Yet there are widely differing concepts of innovation, with a bewildering profusion of retrospective analogies of radical change. Some are technological calls for green versions of the 'Manhattan Project' or 'Apollo Programme'. Others are social or moral appeals for a green 'New Deal'. This diversity represents the complexity of the climate change challenge, but it also reveals contrasting and often confused ideas of innovation itself.

Professor Steward argued that for innovation policy to make a real difference it needs a narrative which is more reflective on past experience. The lecture drew on new thinking about innovation in relation to the delivery of transformative change and its relevance for a wide diversity of policy actors in the political debates of 2010.

The lecture is available to listen to here.