International Conference on Innovation for Inclusive Growth


10-12 February 2015

Taj Palace Hotel New Delhi, New Delhi, India

Jointly organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the World Bank Group (WBG) and the United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)


The objective of the three-day conference was to share lessons learned and foster discussion and policy exchange among stakeholders on the contributions of innovations to inclusive growth. A central question participants addressed was what role governments, private sector, research community and other entities can play in enabling inclusive innovations to emerge and scale up: “How can we create an enabling environment for inclusive innovations to widely contribute to social and economic development?” The conference consisted of three parts providing a multidimensional perspective on the question and leveraging the joint expertise of participating institutions.  

Agenda overview  |  Full agenda (pdf)  |  Background

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‌‌‌ International Conference on Innovation for Inclusive Growth, India, 10-12 February 2015

Full agenda

Biographies (pdf)


Agenda overview

Day 1: Policy Dialogue on Innovation for Inclusive Growth
10 February 2015

The OECD jointly with the CII hosted this forum to foster high-level discussion and policy exchange among the variety of stakeholders concerned with the question of how innovation can best serve inclusive development. The objective was to draw an overview of the macro-level dimensions of inclusive innovation. The different sessions focused on the specific roles the private sector, public research institutions and innovation policy can play in support. Policy panels composed of leading experts from government, private sector, international organisations and academia from advanced, emerging and developing economies provided their perspectives on how the inclusive innovation ecosystem can be strengthened. Insights from the OECD Innovation for Inclusive Growth project were also presented. 

Day 2: Forum on Scaling up Grassroots and Inclusive Innovations
11 February 2015

The World Bank Group organised this interactive forum to identify what is required for inclusive innovations to be effectively delivered and scaled up in specific domains and country contexts. It connected the macro-level perspective of government and policy makers with that of grassroots level innovators, active in the developing countries and emerging economies. The interactive sessions drew from concrete examples from specific sectors, including health, nutrition, water & sanitation and education. The discussions built on the WBG’s first-hand experience in supporting inclusive innovation initiatives in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries and providing evidence of successful business models for inclusive innovations identified and supported through the Development Marketplace programme in India and other World Bank programmes.

Day 3: 8th Conference on Micro Evidence on Innovation and Development (MEIDE)
12 February 2015

UNU-MERIT held the 8th Conference on Micro Evidence on Innovation and Development on February 12th. The MEIDE brings together leading academics in the field of innovation for development from around the world to discuss their research findings regarding the importance of innovation for economic growth and development. Preference is given to empirical research based on micro data. A specific focus of the 2015 edition of the conference was set on discussing research on inclusive innovation conducted across different regions in the world, contributing most recent insights from academic research to the discussions held during the first two days of the event. MEIDE website

Full three-day agenda


Invitations and contributions

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Innovation is a critical driver of growth and a motor for generating employment: this is a key lesson of the past decades. Despite the significant contributions of growth to the reduction of poverty during the past decades, high levels of inequalities persist or are even rising in some developed and emerging economies. As a consequence, achieving inclusive development is at the top of many governments’ agendas. It is therefore crucial to examine the possible contributions of innovation to inclusive development.


Innovation can contribute to inclusiveness,  not only as a driver of income growth but also through innovations that are specifically aimed at lower-income and excluded groups (“inclusive innovations”), which can substantially improve their welfare. Inclusive innovations include innovative goods and services, often substitutes for missing public goods (e.g. health services or access to electricity). To respond to the specific needs of excluded groups and adapt to their requirements (including adaptation to deficient infrastructures), technical as well as business model innovations are needed. Inclusive innovations are often for-profit or at least cost-covering initiatives, and as such offer a more sustainable alternative to support development than those based on continual public or philanthropic funding. As a result, there is a growing interest in fostering the development of these initiatives through policy action, especially as a major challenge that inclusive innovations face is how to reach scale.


Innovation dynamics and innovation policies affect inclusiveness from different angles:First, innovation can increase inequalities in income and opportunities of different groups in society (“social inclusiveness”). Second, innovation dynamics have impacts on “industrial inclusiveness”: Many economies have economic structures characterised by concentration of innovation activities where selected frontier innovators co-exist with a group of weak performers. Third, innovation and its policies also affect “territorial inclusiveness”: the geographic dimensions of industrial and social inequalities.


The OECD Innovation for Inclusive Growth project analyses the impacts of innovation and related policies on inclusive growth. Addressing the needs of policymakers in both key non-member economies and OECD countries, the aims of the project are to:


  • Provide evidence on the effects of innovation and related policies on inclusive growth focusing on industrial, social and territorial inequalities; and
  • Develop concrete policy solutions to support countries in reconciling their innovation and inclusive development agendas, including options for scaling up inclusive innovations.


The project is undertaken under the auspices of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP). It mobilises OECD competences in innovation, education, and regional development and contributes to the OECD’s Inclusive Growth Initiative. This transversal initiative aims to deliver a renewed strategic policy agenda by identifying how to define and measure the concept of inclusive growth and shedding light on the policy options and trade-offs to promote growth and inclusiveness. 


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