Science is a powerful means to enhance socio-economic development. Many strategies to alleviate poverty involve science. One of the strategies is to build local scientific capacity to generate environment-friendly innovations adapted to the needs and knowledge claims of local communities and institutions. We argue that in order to develop sustainable technologies for local communities, knowledge sharing between science and society should be involved throughout the innovation process. Such a process faces four major challenges; the integration of non-academic and academic knowledge, the methodology, the skills of the scientists, and the institutionalization of the approach within organizations. The objective of this study is to gain greater insight into strategies to realize knowledge sharing throughout the innovation process. We describe a case study on the initiatives of a Bangladeshi NGO to share knowledge between science and society. We analyse the case-study through numerous interviews, informal dialogues and direct observation. The experiences and lessons learnt contribute to the development of strategies for realizing knowledge sharing throughout the innovation process. To achieve knowledge sharing an interactive approach was selected and applied by the organisation for the development of locally suitable agricultural technologies. This led to a fundamental change in how the NGO communicated with the local farmers with regard to technology development. One of the activities was the adaptation of the True Potato Seed technology to the situation of the local farmers. We discuss the achievements and reflect on the challenges faced by this process. An important conclusion is that the key strategy to enhance effective transfer of knowledge is the recognition, of the multiple and pervasive hierarchies that influence interaction, and the identification of specific, local and pragmatic steps to reduce the obstacles that these hierarchies represent to the exchange of ideas and information.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Innovations for sustainable development
The need for knowledge sharing

Marjolein Zweekhorst   Vrije Universiteit, Athena Institute, The Netherlands

Jacqueline Broerse   Vrije Universiteit, Athena Institute, The Netherlands

Joske Bunders   Vrije Universiteit, Athena Institute, The Netherlands

Science is a powerful means to enhance socio-economic development. Many strategies to alleviate poverty involve science. One of the strategies is to build local scientific capacity to generate environment-friendly innovations adapted to the needs and knowledge claims of local communities and institutions. We argue that in order to develop sustainable technologies for local communities, knowledge sharing between science and society should be involved throughout the innovation process. Such a process faces four major challenges; the integration of non-academic and academic knowledge, the methodology, the skills of the scientists, and the institutionalization of the approach within organizations. The objective of this study is to gain greater insight into strategies to realize knowledge sharing throughout the innovation process. We describe a case study on the initiatives of a Bangladeshi NGO to share knowledge between science and society. We analyse the case-study through numerous interviews, informal dialogues and direct observation. The experiences and lessons learnt contribute to the development of strategies for realizing knowledge sharing throughout the innovation process. To achieve knowledge sharing an interactive approach was selected and applied by the organisation for the development of locally suitable agricultural technologies. This led to a fundamental change in how the NGO communicated with the local farmers with regard to technology development. One of the activities was the adaptation of the True Potato Seed technology to the situation of the local farmers. We discuss the achievements and reflect on the challenges faced by this process. An important conclusion is that the key strategy to enhance effective transfer of knowledge is the recognition, of the multiple and pervasive hierarchies that influence interaction, and the identification of specific, local and pragmatic steps to reduce the obstacles that these hierarchies represent to the exchange of ideas and information.

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