of paradigm in Science and Technology Policy" 2000,
Cooperation South, TCDC-UNDP, No.1-2000,
at the Forum for South South Cooperation in Science and Technology,
UNDP/Government of the Republic of Korea,
Seoul 14-17 February 2000
We all know
we are in the midst of a change of paradigm, in the midst
of a change in the rules and principles for effective
techno-economic behaviour. What is changing is simply
the "common sense" for achieving best practice,
be it in business or in the conduct of government, at
all levels, from international organizations to the smallest
know this has been brought about by the information technology
revolution. Yet the transformation goes far beyond the
power of computers and Internet; it entails the adoption
of organizational models that are adequate for taking
advantage of that potential; it involves the modernization
of both the structures and the forms of operation of every
organization in any field of activity.
rigid mass production to flexible networks
centralized pyramids to decentralized adaptable
people as human resources to people as human
in the developing world:
all know that and we also understand both the difficulties
of such a transformation and the opportunities
it opens, both the uncertainty involved and the
inexorable nature of those trends. They are precisely
the direct consequence of the technological revolution
that emerged in the 1970s and is fully taking root as
the main productive potential into the 21st
does this transformation mean when we look at science
and technology in the developing world?
does it mean when we examine South-South cooperation in
S&T and want to achieve concrete and meaningful results?
simply means that, just as managers of firms have had
to do, painful as it may have been, the science and technology
community needs to revise, redefine, reassess and rethink
every single thing we thought about S&T in the 1960s
must recognize that the body of knowledge and experience
about S&T, that we now have, was shaped by the conditions
of mass production technologies and the import substitution
model of industrialization.
my view we are far behind in the necessary reassessment.
This is part of the explanation for the meager results.
Without that rethinking, our actions can miss the target.
Without that, our chances for success are minimal.
of our basic tasks is to redefine the field of activity
by widening the scope of what we call technology.
The changes are quite dramatic and fundamental:
paradigm (from 1980s)
of technological efforts
manufacturing industry (to escape from raw
wealth producing activities, from raw materials
to information and social services (it takes more
technology to deliver fresh fish to New York than
to put it in cans)
of technology pursued
technology (embodied in equipment and products,
while human know-how was about using them)
and intangible technologies (not only software
and design but also organizational know-how)
of technological development
innovations, patentable products which can be
"sold" and/or processes that can be "packaged"
and incremental innovations. Those that can
be sold and those that imply constant modifications,
adaptations and improvements (that make a difference
in results but cannot be sold as such.
and by whom is technology developed
R&D departments inside firms or in university
institutes by scientists, engineers and technologists.
firms, in institutes and between them, done by all
members of the organization and by all members of
is innovation in society
is a "job" in a specialized organization
is the way of living and working in the Knowledge
still, there is a difference between the old and the new
paradigm that has far reaching consequences for developing
mass production required very high volumes of identical
products for maximum profitability, the whole world was
pushed into homogenous patterns of production and consumption.
Cultural differences and identities were ironed out in
the melting pot of the "American way of life."
So transfer of technology was often seen as imposed from
abroad and, even when welcome, was in practice judged
situation could change dramatically. The flexible technologies
of the new paradigm are essentially adaptable and
can cater to diversity. The world is far from reaping
the full fruits of this characteristic because the habits
of mass production are still too deeply ingrained. This
has happened with each paradigm change. The first automobiles
looked likes carriages without horses and we are still
measuring engines in "horse-power." But, as
we learn to use the new potential, we will discover that
appropriate technology is possible, profitable and
natural in this paradigm.
are only a few of the many fundamental changes in outlook
that we need to make in order to guarantee that we can
take proper advantage of the opportunities offered by
the essential thing we must be clear about is the need
to re-examine our ideas and our experience:
worked yesterday will probably not work
failed yesterday could work tomorrow.
I would like to advance some ideas about what, in my own
view, are the ways forward, the concepts and attitudes
we need to change in order to take full advantage of the
-Let us break the "marriage of convenience"
between science and technology.
need to bring technology in full contact with production.
We need it to become technological development and
engineering so we can really change the quality
and productivity of our productive activities.
we also need scientific and technological research.
we donít need is to have technology working in isolation,
with the methods, criteria and pace that characterize,
rightfully, the production of scientific knowledge.
Import Substitution times, technological activities
had to take refuge inside the scientific laboratories.
Mature technologies from the North were in no need of
local innovation. So there was no real demand for technology
and it had to "marry" science and adopt its
behavior. Now, technology is needed side by side with
every production activity and with every social service.
Now it must come out from the temples of science and
fully join the action.
- Let us widen the scope of what we call "technology"
to include organizational, managerial and social
capabilities and know-how.
technical and social disciplines need to be put to the
task in problem-solving both in directly wealth creating
activities and in those that are geared to enhancing
the quality of life of the population. If firms need
to be world competitive, governments and social services
need to modernize even more urgently, to deliver management
and social well being with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
we believe in the "trickle down effect" (and
are also willing to wait for it to work its way through)
there is no reason why technological development efforts
should concentrate on competitive activities only. The
whole range needs to be covered, though probably by
- Let us extend the range of actors in producing
accordance with the new paradigm, continuous improvement
needs to become the way of working for all, from the
top managers and specialists to every single worker,
and it needs to become a way of approaching activities,
from the production world right into the community and
to analyze processes, to identify ways of improving
them, reducing efforts and costs, adapting them to specific
conditions and even changing them radically is necessary
for all citizens. Educational reform should include
the introduction of such habits as a key component and
so should job training programs. But the almost "cultural"
change that this implies for all those that are now
in industry or government is very deep and very necessary.
huge social contribution could be made by the S&T
community by becoming the champions of generalized innovativeness
- Let us stop trying to build a "bridge"
between university and industry. Let us instead take
the dividing river away.
need to learn to live in constant interaction between
technology users and producers. We need to open universities
to all social actors and move researchers and engineers
out into the field, out into where their work is used.
are coming from long decades of mutual distrust. Researchers
looked down on "business people who are only interested
in money," and business people considered researchers
"impractical dreamers who donít know the real world."
These attitudes resulted in a lack of common language
between the two worlds.
now need to build a platform of mutual trust and respect,
which can only result from frequent cooperation, probably
beginning with small simple things and growing from
- Finally, let us clearly distinguish four areas of
action which are all equally crucial:
and technological research understood as the creation
of knowledge capital for today and tomorrow
development for world competitiveness geared to
modernizing the export sectors and their support network,
involving incremental and radical innovations (with
full consciousness of the international knowledge
development for improving the general wealth
creating capacity of the country, the regions,
industries and firms (including SMEs). This includes
educational reform, technical infrastructure, development
of consultancy, financial and technical services (from
information to maintenance) and so on.
for the people geared to enhancing the quality
of life of each portion of the population on each
portion of the territory. It would involve the development
and implementation of appropriate technology, the
enhancement of human capital with the specific needs
of each particular locality and stimulating general
innovativeness to solve local problems.
need to move strongly on all four fronts!
each of those four distinct areas of action must
be approached differently
criteria of priority
ways of funding and different sources
actors and ways of organizing
mechanisms for promotion and conditions
for diffusion (for instance, scientific research
and technology for the people should be vastly disseminated,
while technology for competitiveness should be patented
and closely guarded)
ways of measuring results
works of fails in one front, does not necessarily work
or fail in another.
with everything else in this paradigm, segmentation,
diversity and adaptability are essential
for effectiveness and for successful efforts.
let us segment and diversify our efforts in South-South
cooperation for Science and Technology. Let us differentiate
the goals in research, development, engineering and
organizational modernization and let us gear them carefully
to the various objectives to pursue.
us also adapt them to the various realities of the developing
world, between and within our countries. This was not
easy to do in the mass production world. It is not easy
either in the flexible networks world we are now building,
but it is certainly feasible. Let us make sure we donít
miss the opportunity.