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Innovating for the Global South: New book by University of Toronto faculty offers practical insights to address global poverty

February 11, 2014

TORONTO, ON – Despite the vast wealth gen­er­at­ed in the last half cen­tu­ry, in today’s world inequal­i­ty is wors­en­ing and pover­ty is becom­ing increas­ing­ly chron­ic. Hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple con­tin­ue to live on less than $2 per day and lack basic human neces­si­ties such as nutri­tious food, shel­ter, clean water, pri­ma­ry health care, and edu­ca­tion.

Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South: Towards an Inclu­sive Inno­va­tion Agen­da, the lat­est book from Rot­man-UTP Pub­lish­ing and the first vol­ume in the Munk Series on Glob­al Affairs, offers fresh solu­tions for reduc­ing pover­ty in the devel­op­ing world. High­light­ing the mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary exper­tise of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Glob­al Inno­va­tion Group, lead­ing experts from the fields of engi­neer­ing, pub­lic health, med­i­cine, man­age­ment, and pub­lic pol­i­cy exam­ine the caus­es and con­se­quences of endem­ic pover­ty and the chal­lenges of mit­i­gat­ing its effects from the per­spec­tive of the world’s poor­est of the poor.

Can we imag­ine ways to gen­er­ate solar ener­gy to run essen­tial med­ical equip­ment in the coun­try­side? Can we adapt infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies to pro­vide up-to-the-minute agri­cul­tur­al mar­ket prices for remote farm­ing vil­lages? How do we cre­ate more inclu­sive inno­va­tion process­es to hear the voic­es of those liv­ing in urban slums? Is it pos­si­ble to rein­vent a low-cost toi­let that oper­ates beyond the water and elec­tric­i­ty grids?

Moti­vat­ed by the imper­a­tives of devel­op­ing, deliv­er­ing, and har­ness­ing inno­va­tion in the devel­op­ing world, Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South is essen­tial read­ing for man­agers, prac­ti­tion­ers, and schol­ars of devel­op­ment, busi­ness, and pol­i­cy.

“As we see it, Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South is fun­da­men­tal­ly about inno­vat­ing scal­able solu­tions that mit­i­gate the effects of pover­ty and under­de­vel­op­ment in the Glob­al South. It is not about invent­ing some new giz­mo for some untapped mar­ket in the devel­op­ing world,” say Profs. Dilip Soman and Joseph Wong of the UofT, who are two of the edi­tors of the vol­ume.

The book is edit­ed and also fea­tures con­tri­bu­tions by three lead­ing UofT thinkers who are tack­ling inno­va­tion in the glob­al south from three dif­fer­ent aca­d­e­m­ic per­spec­tives.

  • Dilip Soman is Corus Chair in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Strat­e­gy and a pro­fes­sor of Mar­ket­ing at the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment.
  • Jan­ice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Pro­fes­sor of Con­flict Man­age­ment in the Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence and Direc­tor of the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs.
  • Joseph Wong is Ralph and Roz Hal­bert Pro­fes­sor of Inno­va­tion at the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs and Cana­da Research Chair in Democ­ra­ti­za­tion, Health, and Devel­op­ment in the Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence.

The chap­ters in the book address the process of inno­va­tion from a num­ber of van­tage points.

Intro­duc­tion: Rethink­ing Inno­va­tion – Joseph Wong and Dilip Soman

Chap­ter 1: Pover­ty, Invis­i­bil­i­ty, and Inno­va­tion – Joseph Wong

Chap­ter 2: Behav­ioural­ly Informed Inno­va­tion – Dilip Soman

Chap­ter 3: Appro­pri­ate Tech­nolo­gies for the Glob­al South – Yu-Ling Cheng (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and Applied Chem­istry) and Bev­er­ly Bradley (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Cen­tre for Glob­al Engi­neer­ing)

Chap­ter 4: Glob­al­iza­tion of Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Inno­va­tion: Impli­ca­tions for Poor-Mar­ket Dis­eases – Rahim Rezaie (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Munk School of Glob­al Affairs, Research Fel­low)

Chap­ter 5: Embed­ded Inno­va­tion in Health – Ani­ta M. McGa­han (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, Asso­ciate Dean of Research), Rahim Rezaie and Don­ald C. Cole (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Dal­la Lana School of Pub­lic Health)

Chap­ter 6: Scal­ing Up: The Case of Nutri­tion­al Inter­ven­tions in the Glob­al South – Ash­ley Aimone Phillips (Reg­is­tered Dietit­ian), Nan­di­ta Peru­mal (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Doc­tor­al Fel­low, Epi­demi­ol­o­gy), Car­men Ho (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Doc­tor­al Fel­low, Polit­i­cal Sci­ence), and Stan­ley Zlotkin (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Children,Paediatrics, Pub­lic Health Sci­ences and Nutri­tion­al Sci­ences)

Chap­ter 7: New Mod­els for Financ­ing Inno­v­a­tive Tech­nolo­gies and Entre­pre­neur­ial Orga­ni­za­tions in the Glob­al South – Mur­ray R. Met­calfe (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Cen­tre for Glob­al Engi­neer­ing, Glob­al­iza­tion)

Chap­ter 8: Inno­va­tion and For­eign Pol­i­cy – Jan­ice Gross Stein

Con­clu­sion: Inclu­sive Inno­va­tion – Will Mitchell (Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, Strate­gic Man­age­ment), Ani­ta M. McGa­han

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South

Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South engages a very impor­tant and inter­est­ing set of glob­al chal­lenges and presents poten­tial solu­tions involv­ing many impor­tant con­stituen­cies: gov­ern­ments, busi­ness­es and con­sumers. The authors rep­re­sent many dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines and view­points, and the exam­ples used through­out are of excel­lent qual­i­ty, very cur­rent and high­ly diverse.”

- Jaideep Prab­hu, Jawa­har­lal Nehru Pro­fes­sor of Indi­an Busi­ness and Enter­prise and Direc­tor of the Cen­tre for India and Glob­al Busi­ness, Judge Busi­ness School, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge; co-author of Jugaad Inno­va­tion: Think Fru­gal, Be Flex­i­ble, Gen­er­ate Break­through Growth

Inno­vat­ing for the Glob­al South is a strong, coher­ent, and much-need­ed book. Its vision is fresh and for­ward think­ing, and entire­ly in keep­ing with where the field on inno­vat­ing for the poor must go. All stu­dents inter­est­ed in the top­ic, whether from eco­nom­ics, pub­lic health, man­age­ment, or gov­ern­ment, should read this book.

- Thomas Burke, Direc­tor of the Divi­sion of Glob­al Health and Human Rights, Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal

“An extra­or­di­nary con­tri­bu­tion by an extra­or­di­nary group of authors who write about the most extra­or­di­nary chal­lenges of our time.”

- Peter Singer, CEO, Grand Chal­lenges Cana­da

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