Innovation 20 – Outcomes of 2015 Cycle

T20 Turkey


Technological transformation is a vital contributor to the G20’s goals of strong, sustainable and balanced growth, and runs through and affects all agenda items of G20 from development to employment, from growth to trade. Technological upgrading of developing economies and SMEs are critical for them to compete in global markets and for achieving sustainable global growth. Emerging technologies, from biotechnology to nanotechnology, offer opportunities to address significant environmental, socio-economic and public health risks.

Technological transformation presents both opportunities and multidimensional challenges for public agencies and global governance institutions. On the one hand, technological and economic development generates disruption, especially to labor markets and employment patterns. Consequently, in addressing the disruptive aspects of technological progress, it is essential to minimize unacceptable inequalities in income and wealth both within and among nations. On the other hand, technology-driven productivity improves access to goods and services and the quality of life. For instance, advancements in ICT such as digital payment technologies offer opportunities for greater inclusiveness by facilitating remittance transfers at lower cost.

G20 can play a critical role in providing political leadership to policy responses to technological transformation. Globally, public policy is still coming to terms with the implications of the opportunities and challenges posed by technology; therefore, it is important to encourage international collaboration on public policy responses. Not surprisingly, the G7 leaders’ agenda includes technology and innovation issues. This year in Elmau Summit, G7 leaders discussed innovation in antimicrobial resistances, neglected tropical diseases, and resource efficiency. Their agenda is supported by regular meetings of G7 science and technology ministers, information and communications ministers, and education ministers.

Technological transformation has far reaching implications on the global workforce. Technology can create unemployment by displacing certain occupation groups. Technology could also alter the nature of manufacturing and supply chains, leading to new patterns of specialization in global employment. For instance, 3D printing can shift manufacturing production processes in global value chains, transform supply chains fundamentally, and localize production by bringing it closer to consumers. Using biotechnology in industrial value chains, by reducing the number of phases and using resources more efficiently, can carbon emissions by up to 30% and ıncrease productivity by up to 12%. The impact of technological change will differ from country to country, possibly affecting high, middle and low skilled jobs, resulting in inequalities as well as in new skills requirements.

• The G20 could commission detailed studies on the gap between educational levels and skills required by new technologies. The establishment of the Employment Working Group in 2015 presents an opportunity for the G20 to:

     o Work toward setting an ambitious target for universal access to computer skills

     o Promote the inclusion of technological literacy in G20 countries’ employment plans

     o Work towards establishment of a global framework for the accreditation and certification of productivity-enhancing skills

• Coordinate recent domestic policy initiatives for labor mobility that enhance job creation to maximize their impact and discuss a multilateral G20 start-up visa for entrepreneurs in both high- and low-tech industries

T20 Turkey presented a proposal to the Employment Working Group for the establishment of a Global Skills Accelerator, which will act as a cooperation, best practice sharing and funding platform to address skills mismatches that stem from rapid developments in science and technology. T20 is now working together with the World Bank and the Business-20 towards developing the idea further.

New innovations challenge existing regulatory systems. These include self-driving cars, drones, digital currency Bitcoin, as well as critical developments in biotechnology. However, public policy and discourse has not fully understood or responded to such developments and the accompanying regulatory challenges relating to security, health, environment, labor market regulations, and so on. Creating new regulation becomes an even more complex process in a world of rapidly changing technologies. Innovations have impacts beyond borders; as such, they are not simply to be addressed by national public policy.

• The G20 could global policy responses to new technologies through engagement and consultation with engagement groups and multilateral organizations that work on innovation, incorporating the perspectives of entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists – doers in this area.

It is important to encourage international collaboration around advanced technologies as part of the effort to deploy technology to tackle global economic problems. New technologies provide solutions to global challenges such as food safety and security, climate change adaptation, and mitigation, as well as healthcare.

• The G20 could establish a virtual science, technology, and innovation network to harmonize domestic regulatory standards for technology transfer and define new public-private partnership models, alongside public procurement schemes, to facilitate global diffusion of new technologies – nanotechnology and biotechnology – to decrease carbon emission levels for global sustainability.

• The G20 could encourage global public funding of R&D activity on environmental issues and low-carbon pathways by enterprises from emerging markets and other developing countries through a Green Climate Fund to harness their frugal engineering capabilities.

On the governance of the Internet, while it is difficult for the G20 to take a unified stand, it should nonetheless take collective action to improve the digital economy for global economic growth and job creation. Therefore, the G20 should focus on areas related to its core expertise, for example, in facilitating e-commerce, SMEs’ integration with the digital economy, and infrastructure, skills, and ICT for development -- areas that G20 members can broadly agree on advancing the role of the Internet.

• G20 can a formal group should start exploring where the G20’s particular areas of competence and authority can contribute positively to Internet governance. Such a group can include the Business 20 and Think 20 engagement groups, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank and the OECD, and be tasked to submit their assessment at the China summit in 2016.

Biotechnology substantially impacts key areas relevant to sustainable development. Bio-based solutions to global challenges in human health, food security, sustainable industrial production and environmental protection provide an opportunity for the biotechnology as a key development engine for developing countries towards achieving the G20’s goals. The G20 could support the establishment of a global R&D platform and fund, in order to use and coordinate technology and innovation solutions for global challenges such as health epidemics that have cross-border implications. Such a platform would:

• Create a catalogue of these studies in order to identify research complementarities among G20 countries and develop strategies for joint R&D projects to be supported by the fund.

• Coordinate publicly available R&D outputs of specialized research centers in G20 countries

This note was prepared by the Think 20 Turkey, which will host the second Innovation 20 (I20) Summit on November 13, 2015, one day before the G20 leaders arrive in Antalya for their annual summit. The I20 Summit aims to bring technology and innovation into the G20 agenda.

In 2015, T20 Turkey brought the discussion of technological transformation and innovation into its relevant workstreams. T20 Turkey set the stage for a future-focused technology and innovation agenda for the G20 at a seminar in Berlin on 18-19 May 2015, discussed the governance of the Internet at the T20 Izmir Workshop on 13-15 June 2015, and contributed to the skills, employment and technology discussions at the G20 Employment Working Group meetings over the year.

These discussions also coincided with the Turkish government’s initiative to incorporate the I20, an unofficial group that began in Australia in 2014, into the T20 framework.

Relevant T20 Turkey Literature

G20 on Innovation and International Technology Diffusion. Report of T20 Berlin Workshop.

Kati Suominen. The Seoul Consensus.

Think 20. A Proposal for a Global Skills Accelerator.

Ussal Sahbaz, Feride Inan and Aysegul Aytac. Room Document for G20 Employment Working Group Meeting Antalya, 26 February 2015

Selin Arslanhan Memis. Science, Technology and Innovation in G20 Countries.