Innovation for the Global Goals

for Sustainable Development

Innovation can play a role in all 17 SDGs - with different level of impact and across different challenges.  However, it is often not properly understood what innovation really means.

Innovation is NOT necessarily the same as new ideas, R&D or patents  – although all of these are integral components of the innovation process. Innovation is defined by the OECD and seminar scholars as both the process from going from an idea to a solution and as the result of a process of value creation. It is often explained as new or significantly new products and services, processes, marketing and organisational tools developed, used or adopted by individuals and/or organisations.

Innovation can have positive effects on the environment (eco-innovation) and society at large (social innovation). However, eco and social innovations can create the so-called 'rebounds effects' in the economy, environment and/or society. Meaning, not all green and innovations are truly green and socially inclusive. But they are better than current alternatives - and it is not uncommon that this relative advantage makes them object of (public) support = due to the public good they represent.

This section contains information and resources about the role of innovation in achieving the Global Challenges faced by humanity, as expressed by the 2030 Global Goals and Targets of the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. 

Click on any specific Goal below to learn more about how innovation contributes to solutions for each issue.