Public Release: 

Harvard conference Sept. 10: Emerging technologies and global development

Innovation and its enemies: Why people resist new technologies

Harvard Kennedy School

A live stream of this free public conference Saturday Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m US Eastern Time, will be available online at

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 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Harvard Committee on African Studies.

Location: Starr Auditorium, Belfer 200

Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge MA 02138

RSVP requested to STG Project Coordinator,


Opening Remarks
Prof. Calestous Juma

Keynote, Cycles of Innovation and Discovery
Prof. Venky Narayanamurti

Coffee break

Machine Learning and Global Agriculture: The Case of Grow Intelligence
Ms. Sara Menker, CEO of Grow 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
Derek Hatchett, Vitor Pamplona, and Patricia Harris
Chaired by Dr. Wafaie Fawzi, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Coffee break

Civilian Drones for Development
Christoph Nedopil and Kiran Pookote

Closing remarks, Innovation and Its Enemies
Prof. Calestous Juma


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