Economic transformation, meeting human needs, and protecting the environment have emerged as global grand challenges. One way to address these challenges is to harness the world’s abundant scientific, technological, and engineering knowledge to meet specific human needs. While some of the technologies offer solutions to global challenges, they also threaten to disrupt incumbent industries and social organization. Technological anxiety and outright opposition to disruptive technologies, however, may undermine such efforts.

The aim of this conference is to map emerging technologies that could address global grand challenges, review their disruptive characteristics, identify potential sources of social concern, and outline business models and public policies on how to address the social concerns. The conference builds on the findings of the newly published book, Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2016).

The conference will address emerging technologies in fields such as data analytics, geographic information, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and health. It will incorporate demonstrations from entrepreneurs who are using innovative technologies to address these challenges.

This conference is being held in conjunction with Prof. Juma's fall class, "Innovation for Global Development." It is co-sponsored by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Harvard Center for African Studies.


Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016

Time: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Location: Starr Auditorium, Belfer 200

Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge MA 02138

RSVP requested to STG Project Coordinator,

Coffee & Registration

Opening Remarks
Prof. Calestous Juma

Keynote, Cycles of Innovation and Discovery
Prof. Venky Narayanamurti

Coffee break

Machine Learning and Global Agriculture: The Case of Gro Intelligence
Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence
Nemo Semret, CTO of Gro Intelligence
Chaired by Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong

12:00 – 1:30
Lunch break (on your own in Harvard Square)

Innovation Hubs in Africa
Prof. Joao Resende-Santos

Digital Innovation and Global Health: The Case of EyeNetra
Vitor Pamplona
Chaired by Dr. Wafaie Fawzi, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Coffee break

Civilian Drones for Development
Christoph Nedopil, Kiran Pookote, and Taylor Ray

Closing remarks, Innovation and Its Enemies
Prof. Calestous Juma

Related Links:

Innovation for Economic Development Executive Program

Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Africa Executive Program

Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies

The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa