Technology shaping and technology policy

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18 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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1

Technology shaping and technology
policy


Unit 2: Technology shaping and technology policy

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1 Technology shaping

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Box 1 Technology Shaping

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Discussion

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Toilet Parties in the Nairobi Slums

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Eco
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toilets innovations serving the poor; waterless, odourless and productive

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Description

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Answer

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Answer

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Answer

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2 Social const
ruction of technology and actor
-
network approaches

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Box 2 Social constructivism

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Box 3 Technological systems approach

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Discussion

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3 Technology policy

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Box 4 Technology policy

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3.1 The role of government

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3.2 A reduced role for government

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Choice of technology

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Discussion

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4.1 Research and development policy

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4.2 Technology foresight

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4.3 Promotion and regulation

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4.4 Technology push versus market pull

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4.5 Technology transfer

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4.6 Innovation support

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5 Public participation

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Discussion

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Discussion

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Discussion

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Discussion

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Discussion

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M
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KESHO in Kenya: A new step for M
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PESA and mobile banki
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Discussion

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6 The move to firms, technology strategy, systems of innovation and ‘publics’

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Conclusion

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Next steps

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References

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Acknowledgements

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Unit 2: Technology shaping and
technology policy

This unit will introduce technology shaping and technology policy and related
concepts. The shaping approach reframes our understanding o
f how technology
innovation is produced today. Thus, technologies are not just out there, waiting to
be discovered like a pebble on a beach, but are more complex. We will consider the
dynamic relationship between technology shaping, technological innovatio
n and
technology policy. Emerging from this discussion will be a growing awareness that
technology policy is now not only what governments do, but is an arena with many
actors, both public and private, acting to influence the development of science and
tec
hnology. Thus, we move from understanding technology policy as simple linear
models to more complex systems as demonstrated in Rothwell’s reading in unit 1.
The institutional and organisational arrangements that facilitate and nurture this
will be discusse
d in unit 3.

1 Technology shaping

Technology shaping emerged from the sociology of science. Research on
technological innovation, as shown in unit 1, has a strong base in economic
thinking


in particular, in arguments concerning the relative importance of

market
and non
-
market institutions in promoting innovation. The key arguments of
economists of innovation focus on the need to get inside the ‘black box’ of
technology. In other words, technologies cannot all be treated as the same thing. It
is necessary
to know what is inside the ‘black box’ to make decisions about how
the technology developed (was shaped). It is also necessary to get inside the
technology to appreciate its role at present, and how it may be developed in the
future.

Economists of innovati
on have been criticised for their ‘economic determinism’


i.e. that economic forces dominate the shaping of technologies. More generally,
innovation specialists from the 1950s to the 1980s focused on how governments
might get technology through state inve
stment in science and technology or by
buying it from others.

The social shaping of technology emerged partially as a counter to these economic
approaches. At its heart was the argument that the social dimension needed to be
more coherently integrated into

studies of science and technology.

The social shaping of technology approach also arose as an alternative to the main
concerns of social scientists until the 1980s: to understand the impact and effects of
technology on society. As Mackenzie and Wajcman pu
t it:

“This is a perfectly valid concern, but it leaves a prior, and perhaps
more important, question unasked and therefore unanswered. What has
shaped the technology that is having ‘effects’? What has caused and is


4

causing the technological changes whose
“impact” we are
experiencing?”

Mackenzie and Wajcman (1985), p 2

Box 1 Technology Shaping

Technology shaping concerns the social factors that shape technological change. To
what extent, and how, does the kind of society we live in affect the kind of
techno
logy we produce? What shapes technology? How does society shape
technology?

These questions are based on an assumption and an argument: that technology is
more than objects, it is also a set of human activities and refers to what people
know as well as wha
t they do


it is about knowledge. Thus, technology is a social
process and is shaped socially.

Activity 7

Read the document below by Mackenzie and Wajcman, which is the introduction to
a book they authored (1985).

Make notes on how the authors define tech
nology, technological determinism, and
then on how the authors approach the issue of social shaping of technology


in
particular, the relationship between social shaping and economic shaping of
technology.

PDF content unavailable

Discussion

One key aspect

in Mackenzie and Wajcman’s argument is that relations between
people (including gender relations) are what shapes the development of
technologies


that shaping is about social relations and social processes. They
make the usually buried observation that
‘the economic shaping of technology is, in
fact, the social shaping of technology’ (p 15). The dominant approach to
technological innovation before the work of Mackenzie, Wajcman and others, was
on how governments might promote technology, via support of s
cience and its
application, and public support for companies developing innovation strategies.
Mackenzie and Wajcman and others emphasized as well the other often micro
forces, like technology developed to weaken trade unions and reinforce gender
relations
, that influenced the shaping of technology.

End of discussion

Activity 8

Part 1



5

Read the blog posting and the related East African case study below entitled “Eco
-
toilets innovations serving the poor; waterless, odourless and productive”. Answer
the follow
ing questions:

1.

In what ways did Kenyan society shape the innovation of the eco
-
toilet?

2.

How did the project manager, David Kuria, overcome Kenyans reluctance to
pay for using the toilet?

3.

What innovative marketing initiatives have been tried to achieve wide
adoption in the slums of Nairobi?

Toilet Parties in the Nairobi Slums

When I first journeyed to Kenya in 2004, celebrating the launch of a
public toilet facility was one of the last ways I imagined spending a
Monday morning
-

or any morning (or afternoon,
or evening), for that
matter. In fact, unless I had enjoyed an elephant's dose of mango juice
and was on a 5 hour safari across the Great Rift Valley, I might not
have had reason to celebrate a toilet at all.

Six years later, however, armed with the realiz
ation that an estimated
2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation and 2.2 million die
each year from water and sanitation related diseases, I now have
billions of reasons to attend toilet parties, an emerging trend in the
Nairobi slums thanks to D
avid Kuria and Ecotact. So when the
Acumen team received the invite to attend the launch of Ecotact's 17th
Ikotoilet facility last Monday, I practically ran for my dancing shoes.

Sitting under a small tent adjacent to the about
-
to
-
be
-
launched
Kawangware Ik
otoilet, Rob Katz and I listened eagerly with the 200
-
plus gatherers inside and spilling out the edges of the makeshift party
hall. The crowd
-

a mix of residents, officials and journalists
-

engulfed
the architecturally distinct Ikotoilet structure. It wa
s clear that Acumen
wouldn't be dancing alone at this party.

The Minister of Public Health and Sanitation and the Chief Public
Health Officer also showed up for the celebration. Given the honour of
Chief Guests, they both made remarks before cutting the ri
bbon: this
day marks the launch of a noble public
-
private partnership initiative, as
we bring necessary services closer to the people and are no longer
dependent on flying toilets.

The Kawangware facility is part of Ecotact's newly implemented slum
outreac
h model; it is now the second Ikotoilet in the informal
communities of Kenya. And according to Kuria and the Minister, there
will be more Ikotoilets in Kawangware in the near future
-

extremely
exciting news for Acumen as a BoP [bottom of the pyramid] inve
stor!

Ecotact is experimenting with a school model in the slums as well.
After cutting the ribbon at Kawangware
-

and being mobbed by
reporters as she toured the facilities
-

Minister of Public Health and


6

Sanitation and Kawangware MP Beth Mugo led a delega
tion to the
Dagoretti Secondary School, about 10 minutes away from the new
Ikotoilet.

The school's 150 students currently use pit latrines. But with funding
from the Solid House Foundation, Dagoretti will soon inaugurate a
free
-
for
-
use Ikotoilet on site. W
hat's more, a biodigester will generate
valuable methane gas, pumped from the toilet to the school's kitchen.

With facilities in Nairobi's central business district, city parks, slums
and schools, Ecotact is tackling the sanitation problem here in Kenya
on

many fronts. As an investor and partner with Ecotact, Acumen Fund
is eager to continue the celebration with Kuria and his team, as they
grow from 17 facilities to a target of more than double that within the
next year.

Eco
-
toilets innovations serving the
poor; waterless,
odourless and productive

Sanitation remains one of the most complicated community issues
because it involves changing behaviour. There are not only cultural
considerations but also entrenched viewpoints regarding sanitation
services. Most
Kenyans believe this service should be free and are
reluctant to pay for it. This leads them to make unsanitary
arrangements to meet their needs. However, the outbreak of disease
often result, leading to much higher costs in terms of medical bills or
even
death. An innovation, the eco
-
toilet, has been developed to
improve sanitation and health.

The eco
-
toilet project encountered many obstacles along the way.
David Kuria, the project manager, ran into problems in acquiring land
and licenses. Initially nine b
anks refused to finance the idea, but the
Acumen Fund, a social venture capital firm, finally agreed. After one
year of teaching him how to design a business plan, the fund invested
$600,000. Kuria made a deliberate decision not to market the eco
-
toilet
to

the poor initially, but to rich Kenyans. Thus, an eco
-
toilet was
established outside the Hilton Hotel, near the Kenyan Parliament and
in a prime downtown location. David’s thinking was that if he could
get the rich to overcome their resistance and pay for

the service, the
poor could be persuaded of the benefits of the eco
-
toilet and be willing
to pay. The eco
-
toilet’s financial sustainability means charging for its
use. Every day, 35,000 people use the toilet in Nairobi's Central
Business District and 35 o
ther eco
-
toilets in Nairobi, paying just five
shillings, or about 7 U.S. cents, per visit.

The location of the eco
-
toilet also generated other revenues. Rent
collected from the nearby convenience store and the shoe shine stands
also help to make the eco
-
to
ilet a successful business model. The eco
-
toilet features piped
-
in music, the facility is kept spotlessly clean, it
uses very little water and much of that is harvested rainwater. Wastes


7

are recycled into fertilizer and methane gas adding to its environmen
tal
credentials. But the acid test of the model was to win acceptance in the
slums of Kenya, particularly Nairobi. The first eco
-
toilet opened in
Mathare slum. To encourage its use, the entrepreneurs developed a
monthly card costing 100 shillings (about $1
.20) per family. Pricing
the service to make it affordable was one of the many challenges for
the slum branch. Violence and general lawlessness in the slums is a
particular problem as people are reluctant to venture out at night
because of security concern
s. It is hoped that the staging of family
events in the area where the toilets are housed will encourage people to
come out at night and to feel safe. Moreover, local groups have been
invited by the entrepreneurs to form a committee to help run the
facilit
ies. Eco
-
toilet’s ultimate goal is for social transformation in
changing people’s behaviour around sanitation and improving health.


Figure 1 David Kuria and an Eco
-
toilet

Description

Figure 1 David Kuria and an Eco
-
toilet

End of description

If you want t
o find out more about the Eco
-
toilets the following URLs have been
provided:

http://www.changemakers.com/node/6025

http://www.ecotact.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93&Ite
mid=196


http://waterandfoodaward.wordpress.com/2010/12/0
3/nominee
-
video
-
ecotact
-
ltd
-
and
-
the
-
iko
-
toilet/

http://www.nextbillion.net/blog/kenya
-
dispatch
-
toilet
-
parties
-
in
-
the
-
nairobi
-
slums

Part 2



8

Question 8

In wha
t ways did Kenyan society shape the innovation of the eco
-
toilet?

Answer

Kenyan citizens do not feel they should pay to access sanitation which leads to
disease outbreaks because people relieve themselves in unsanitary ways.
Encouraging use of a toilet and

persuading people to pay for the service was
necessary to improve health outcomes. Thus there were social, health and economic
issues to overcome. The ecological benefits of the eco
-
toilet in using harvested
rainwater, and use of the waste for fertilizer
and biogas were also shaped by
Kenyan society.

End of answer

Part 3

Question 9

How did the project manager, David Kuria, overcome Kenyans’ reluctance to pay
for using the toilet?

Answer

He placed an eco
-
toilet outside the Hilton Hotel in downtown Nairobi,
and charged
for its use. It proved popular with middle class Kenyans who flocked to pay to use
it. This addressed the social and economic problem. He then marketed the toilet to
the poor, for whom it now had a certain social cachet. The poor were being giv
en
the opportunity to use a facility enjoyed by the rich.

End of answer

Part 4

Question 10

What innovative marketing initiatives have been tried to achieve wide use of the
eco
-
toilet in the slums of Nairobi?

Answer

The toilet is located near various other
facilities which raise revenue for the toilet
business but also attract custom. Special discount cards have been sold to make use
of the toilet affordable for the poorest families. Local community groups have been
established to help manage the facilities
and events arranged in areas where the
toilets are to attract families and establish the areas as safe at night.

End of answer



9

2 Social construction of technology and
actor
-
network approaches

A related approach to that espoused by Mackenzie and Wajcman is
called the social
construction of technology (SCOT) approach. In the SCOT approach (see Box 2)
the development process of a technological artefact (Pinch and Bijker, 19) is
analysed from the perspective of all the different social groups and social interes
ts
that may be associated with its early development and thus may act to help shape
its development. Pinch and Bijker use the development of the bicycle as an
example. In the early days there were a vast range of design ‘variants’ and a
‘selection’ process

funnelled them into the design which became the norm


a
process ending in what they call closure. The argument of Pinch and Bijker is that
although with hindsight the selection process appears to be a logical one with a
successful final design (closure),

at the time this was anything but the case


the
successful design was just one of various serious rivals and ‘won’ through a
process of dealing with problems arising from the various social groups interested
in the bicycle’s development, including the an
ti
-
cyclists.

Critics of the SCOT approach see it as a kind of social determinism and some have
proposed an alternative approach


called the actor
-
network approach, where the
distinction between physical and social actors are collapsed together:

“The actor

network approach is reducible neither to an actor alone nor
to a network. Like networks it is composed of a series of
heterogeneous elements, animate and inanimate, that have been linked
to one another for a certain period of time. The actor network can t
hus
be distinguished from the traditional actors of sociology, a category
usually excluding any non
-
human component and whose internal
structure is rarely assimilated to that of a network. But the actor
network should not, on the other hand, be confused wi
th a network
linking in some predictable fashion elements that are perfectly well
defined and stable …An actor network is simultaneously an actor
whose activity is networking heterogeneous elements and a network
that is able to redefine and transform what
it is made of”.

Callon, 1987, p 93

Box 2 Social constructivism

Social constructivism is an outgrowth of the sociology of science, that assumes that
artefacts and practices are best seen as the constructions of individuals or
collectivities that belong to s
ocial groups (Law, 1987). Because social groups have
different interests and resources, they tend to have different views of the proper
structure of artefacts. The stabilization of artefacts is explained by referring to
social interests that are inputted t
o the groups concerned and their differential
capacity to mobilise resources in the course of debate and controversy. Social
constructivists sometimes talk of this process as one of ‘closure’. Closure is
achieved when debate and controversy about the form
of an artefact is effectively


10

terminated. The approach is useful because many artefacts are designed in the
context of controversy


examples are airports, the bicycle.

Methods associated with technology shaping include case study methodology, the
detailed

and ethnographic study of particular technological changes, and careful
rethinking of studies from the history of science. Social constructivism, the actor
-
network approach and
technological systems

approaches (see Box 3) have much in
common. First, they
agree that technology is not fixed by nature alone but by
human interaction. Second, they agree that technology does not stand in an
invariant relation with science, that the relation science/technology is a complex
one (Faulkner, 1994). Third, they assume

that technological stabilization can be
understood only if the artefact in question is seen as interrelated with a wide range
of non
-
technical and social factors.

Box 3 Technological systems approach

This approach (Hughes, 1987) understands technological
innovation in terms of a
systems metaphor. The argument is that those who build artefacts do not concern
themselves with artefacts alone, but must also consider the ways in which the
artefacts relate to social, economic, political and scientific factors. T
he argument is
that innovators are best seen as systems builders. A good historical example of a
systems builder was Edison as you saw in Block 1, who had not only to grapple
with the technical (how to minimise the cost of transmitting power) and scientifi
c
(how to find a high resistance incandescent bulb filament) but also economic (how
to supply electric lighting cheaper than gas), and political (how to persuade
politicians to permit the development of a power system).

To summarise, I have introduced the
social shaping of technology approach via
Mackenzie and Wajcman’s classic text and considering social constructivism,
actor
-
network and technological systems approaches. The social shaping
approaches, worked on and developed in the 1980s and 1990s, are now

integrated
into the mainstream of research on technological innovation. Increasingly,
technological changes are products of social processes. Consequently, outsiders or
those people not directly involved in the design of, and decision
-
making about, a
tech
nology, can shape technology transformation.

Activity 9

Reflecting on your reading of the eco
-
toilet East African case study in section 1, in
what ways does it demonstrate a social shaping approach?

Discussion

The social shaping approach, where a range of
actors are involved in bringing the
technology to fruition, can be demonstrated at a technical level (licences, funding,
business plan) and social level (changing peoples’ values and beliefs) in the eco
-
toilet case study. Thus, in order to commercialise th
e technology, the project
manager David Kuria, had to negotiate with Nairobi city planners and lawyers,
responding to their concerns in order to acquire land and licences. The Acumen
fund, a social venture capital firm, provided the expertise and training
to help him


11

design a business plan and also funded the project. In tackling traditional resistance
to paying for sanitation, Kuria first won acceptance of the eco
-
toilet among the
wealthy citizens of Nairobi by placing an eco
-
toilet in a downtown, prime lo
cation.
He was then able to locate eco
-
toilets in the slums of Nairobi which were
enthusiastically received with the aid of marketing and the support of national
politicians and local journalists. Thus, outsiders not directly involved in the design
of the
technology can have a significant impact on its commercialisation and
success.

End of discussion

3 Technology policy

Now we will move from thinking about technology development to thinking about
supporting technology development and innovation. Technology
policy research
attempts to explore the process of development of policies on technology.
Traditionally, this has focused on national level policy development by
governments, but increasingly local and regional institutions have been involved in
technology

policies. Also there has been expansion in supra
-
national policy
development, as for example, within the European Union and African Union.
Finally, and crucially, citizens have increasingly articulated their concerns about
science and technology, and do t
his earlier in the process of development.

Historically, research on technology policy has tended to focus on how and why
governments (and increasingly other institutions) develop technology policies, the
implications of technology policy for the innovatio
n process, evaluation of different
types of technology policy in different contexts and studies of the impact of
technologies, including on less developed regions of the world.

Increasingly, however, policy research has moved to address issues such as publ
ic
-
private relations and the growing institutional complexity of multi
-
agent processes.
Policies are often designed to change a given situation but the situation is changing
anyway and involves an ever increasing number of social agents and actors. Policy
is constantly developing and is thus a process and not only a prescription.

Box 4 Technology policy

Basically, a technology policy

is usually
a set of defined proposals for preferred
approaches to the development and use of technology,
often set out in som
e form of
policy statement or document. A policy statement may set out specific priorities,
identifying preferred lines of development e.g. to focus on technology X rather than
Y. In addition, it may sometimes specify specific
means

for achieving the state
d
ends. For example “to be at the forefront of the development of ‘Technology Z’,
requires investment of X% of available R & D funding”.

The emphasis in policy statements is usually on defined ‘goals’ or specific aims,
but equally technology policies also
often reflect and comment on the underlying
principles shaping the policy and may provide political justifications and arguments
for the approach being adopted. Policies are processes and not only prescriptions.



12

At its simplest, a technology policy may amo
unt to no more than a specific
allocation of R & D funds to projects or programme, but policies may also propose
other, more complex, institutional, organisational or financial
measures

to help
achieve the proposed aims e.g. the establishment of a new gran
t scheme, or a new
research programme or agency supported by public funds. Such proposals are
sometimes called
policy measures



ways of seeking to achieve the goals of the
policy.

To summarise, various
policy measures

are developed and applied, and are us
ually
linked to
programmes
(for example, of research or innovation support), in order to
achieve
policy goals
. They involve processes, such as: those linking academic
institutions to industrial sectors and the development of human scientific and
technologi
cal capabilities.

3.1 The role of government

The government technology policy making process inevitably interacts with
‘external’ private sector policy making. Indeed in some cases the public and private
sector policy making processes are intertwined in co
mplex ways, as for example in
Japan, where the Ministry for International Trade and Industry (MITI) has, over the
years, developed a wide range of long term strategic plans, in collaboration with the
private sector.

In the past, national level technology p
olicy has often been the preserve of
government that can develop longer term programmes and strategies and provide
funding for key projects, with new R & D. To some extent this reflects the fact that,
historically, governments have been centrally involved
with defence and with
major technologically related military projects and institutions. Defence has been
the largest single area of state supported scientific and technological activity in
many countries.

However, the civil side of technology policy has st
eadily expanded, with vast areas
of industrial activity involving the development and use of new technologies. Many
technology based utilities (e.g. telecommunications, energy and water supply) have
been transferred to private companies. Private companies
have their own
technological agendas, and a key issue for government technology policy is the
extent to which government can try to influence and steer private company policies
at a national or international level (say to improve environmental sustainabili
ty or
to increase national industrial competitiveness).

Another area of policy research, then, concerns the relationship between the public
and the private.

3.2 A reduced role for government

Overall, there has been a trend towards less involvement, or at l
east different and
less direct involvement, by the state. Sometimes, it is not a case of reduced state
influence. Increasingly major projects and programme are being carried out on a
collaborative basis, involving joint public and private initiatives. In t
erms of policy


13

development, collaboration between government planning agencies and the private
sector is becoming more common with interaction between government and private
agency policies becoming two way.

Often, the role of government is better describe
d as a ‘steering’ role
-

trying to give
direction to a restricted range of technological issues, in a vast sea of complexity
and uncertainty.

4 Choice of technology

Technology policy covers a wide range of activities and issues. At the most
general, it is
concerned with the whole question of which way society is going, or
ought to be going. Over the past few decades a significant debate has grown up
over the role of technology in society, fuelled in part by concerns about
environmental impact, resource scar
city, and the implications of new technologies
for employment and society generally. You have an opportunity to reflect on this in
the next activity.

Activity 10

In many African countries there is a growing public debate about the use of
genetically modifi
ed organisms (GMOs). In order to explore choice of technology
and drawing on your general knowledge of the debate around GMOs, please
answer the following SAQs:

What are the tensions around GMOs for African governments?

Why would governments want to be inv
olved in regulating GMOs?

Discussion

The tensions for African governments are around promoting economic growth
through higher crop yields and increased trade offered by GMOs, and preventing
the potential damaging environmental impacts of the technology. Af
rican
governments have to balance these conflicting interests with limited human, policy
and infrastructural capacities.

African governments want to be involved in regulating GMOs to protect their
country’s biodiversity, food production systems, traditiona
l knowledge and culture.
The asymmetrical power relationship between African governments and large agro
-
business makes this a challenging task.

End of discussion

Out of this ‘Society and Technology’ debate has come proposals for effective
‘social control’
of technology, as an alternative, or at least an addition, to leaving
choices up to market mechanisms. Various forms of longer range technology
assessment or technology foresight process, coupled with mechanisms for
‘regulating’ the development of technolo
gy so as to avoid undesirable outcomes,


14

have been suggested as public concerns have grown about a whole range of
scientific and technological issues.

4.1 Research and development policy

Technology policy has emphasised choices concerning innovation support

programmes and research and development funding


all set within broad strategies
concerning preferred lines of technological and scientific development and
assumptions about their relative outcomes


how and when investment in
technology will yield econo
mic and social pay
-
off.

Debates over which science and technology to promote can often be quite bitter
since they affect departmental R & D budgets. Major research institutions will
defend their programmes whilst insurgent new groups with novel ideas will
try to
get access to funding. For example, hard pressed renewable energy researchers
often resent the large sums allocated to nuclear research.

The debates can also take on a political dimension since they sometimes reflect
major political issues. At prese
nt defence related research is a major focus in the
UK and some people feel this is a distortion of priorities. For example it is
sometimes suggested that Japan’s economic success in the last half of the twentieth
century was in part because it did not inv
est heavily in defence R & D and could
therefore focus more of its innovative effort in the civil sector.

Other areas of debate can be equally contentious. Can and should the UK (or any
other similar nation) try to ‘keep up’ in every area of science and te
chnology? What
should be the balance between the various fields? Can a nation afford to be at the
forefront of computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, energy technology,
and aerospace? Or should it be more selective? And if so how? Can European or
Af
rican nations keep up by better integrating their technology policies? How can
less developed countries access science and technology for their development
needs?

These are large contentious issues often involving conflicts and uncertainties about
potenti
al future developments. A number of analytic techniques have been
developed to try to reduce the uncertainty, the most recent being
Technology
Foresight
.

4.2 Technology foresight

Many governments have introduced long range ‘technology foresight’ capacity,
looking ahead perhaps 20 years.

In the past there had been some enthusiasm for ‘technological forecasting’, but this
technique, which often relied on extrapolating trends into the future, was
increasingly seen as too mechanistic and unreliable, given the e
ver more complex
pattern of technological, economic and political developments. The technology
foresight approach, by contrast, attempts to gather views from a wide range of
experts and practitioners on likely patterns of technical and market developments


15

and refine them, interactively, to produce a consensus on the prospects for specific
new technologies or lines of scientific development. It has become more process
oriented and less prescriptive. It is not just technical possibilities that are
considered:

patterns of social and economic change may also be considered, e.g.
via long range scenarios, so that potential future market demands can be identified.
We look at technology foresight as a research method in unit 4.

4.3 Promotion and regulation

Whichever

way policies or priorities are chosen, two basic approaches to the
implementation of technology policy or strategy are usually posited. The most
obvious is by direct
promotion

or support of desired developments, through direct
funding of R & D or demonstr
ation projects or through some form of market
support, subsidy, or tax concessions to stimulate desired developments. Stimulation
or promotion can also be achieved by other forms of financial support e.g. low
interest loans, loan guarantees etc. and by bac
kground support


the provision of
technical advice, training schemes and so on.

The second approach to the implementation of technology policy is by means of
regulation



legislative measures to inhibit undesirable developments and to ensure
that hazards
are minimised.

Regulation can also act as a stimulus to innovation that avoids undesirable effects
and hazards. Thus, for example, new laws on toxic waste or vehicle emissions can
stimulate companies to improve existing options or find alternative technolo
gies.

The development of regulatory rules and controls can thus be seen not just as
negative ‘technological censorship’ but equally as an indirect way of ‘steering’ the
pattern of technological development positively. However not everyone sees
regulation i
n this positive light, and there is a continuing debate over the relative
merits of, and correct balance between, stimulation and regulation.

4.4 Technology push versus market pull

Another key issue in the application of technology policy, and indeed in th
e
assessment of options, is the balance between
technology push

and
market pull
.
Traditionally the R & D process has been seen as a linear one which was strongly
influenced by a push from ‘pure science’, with scientific curiosity often shaping the
pattern
of development. Then, market concerns began to dominate and the
emphasis in R & D moved away from longer term ‘blue skies’ research to a focus
on ‘near market’ options i.e. focusing on product ideas which are almost, but not
quite, competitive in the marke
t place. More recently, there have been moves to
integrate the innovation system.

4.5 Technology transfer

In this ‘pull or push’ tension, depending on the technology and its state of
development, technology transfer activities are viewed as a way to bridge

the gap


16

between research and market, transferring ideas from researchers and inventors to
private sector companies that might develop them commercially.

There are a number of ‘marriage bureaux’


commercial organisations who collect
ideas from the inventi
on/R & D stage (e.g. from individuals, universities,
companies) and offer them to potential investors and other companies for full scale
development. Rather than simply providing financial support for development,
‘technology transfer’ of this type essenti
ally relies on communicating
ideas

to
potential backers, sometimes by helping
people

to transfer (e.g. from university to
industry and vice versa). Either way, the basic idea is thus
dissemination

of ideas.

In parallel, some companies have become involved
with Science Parks


commercial innovation centres usually established near Universities, intended in
theory at least to commercialise ideas emerging from academic research (You will
study some examples of these in unit 4 when looking at research methods).

4.6 Innovation support

Some companies still retain a full range of activities, from R & D to design,
production to marketing. Increasingly, however, companies specialise in what they
see as their core activities, building partnerships to integrate capabil
ities that they
need but do not have. Those companies which depend strongly on science and high
levels of technological innovation often have strong relations with universities,
some investing millions in departments in return for first refusal on any comm
ercial
possibilities. Companies in some countries also still rely on governments and
funding from regional bodies to invest in R & D, certainly in defence related
industry, but in other targeted sectors as well.

In the UK, for example, the Department of Tr
ade and Industry still offers a number
of support programmes designed to help companies identify and develop new
technologies. Schemes cover a wide range of areas, including computers and
information technology, energy systems, new materials, biotechnology
,
nanotechnology, and so on. Some are linked to Research Council programmes,
focusing on more fundamental R & D aspects, but more are designed to operate at
the pre
-
competitive/near
-
market phase, providing support for technology transfer or
perhaps direct
development support to help new technologies establish themselves
commercially. Many African countries also have support programmes. For
example, in South Africa there is the Technology Innovation Agency which is
tasked with ensuring research and knowledge

is moved from universities and
research institutes into technology based industries. South Africa also has the
National Research Foundation which promotes research activity through funding
and human capacity development activities.

The European Commission

also operates a very wide range of innovation support
and technology transfer schemes and programmes. The EU has an
innovation
website

with a search tool that allows easy identification of research pro
jects in
different EU countries.



17

There are also a number of international agencies, such as the United Nations, some
of whose programmes provide support for technological development of various
types, sometimes as part of aid packages for less developed co
untries. And of
course there are many international bodies who analyse technological issues and
promote specific strategies at the international level e.g. the OECD (the
Organisation of Economic Co
-
operation and Development).

At the other end of the spectr
um there are local and regional innovation support and
technology development schemes


many of them being funded under the various
EC regional development programmes including to African countries or by the
African Union or the African Development Bank.

5

Public participation

So far we have focused on governmental procedures and institutions. In the mid to
late twentieth century these have been the main mechanisms for decision making
on national issues like technology policy. But in the last decades there
have been
changes as the public have organized around their concerns, for example about
nuclear power, pollution and risky chemicals plants, and more recently about mad
cow disease and genetically modified crops. One of the constraints of formal
technology

policy approaches has been the lack of formalization of public voices.
The degree of
formal

participation by ‘outsiders’ in complex decisions on
technology policy is limited in the UK. The main route for most ‘outsiders’ to gain
involvement is via
consult
ation.
Individuals or groups with an interest in or
expertise on an issue may be invited (or sometimes be legally required) to submit
evidence for example to Select Committees or Royal Commissions.

Public concerns and conflicts over some types of technolog
ical development have,
in recent decades, led to noisy lobbying, major demonstrations, and even direct
action against projects. Strong views on environmental protection are now
influential across society. While some objections may relate to specific projec
ts,
there may also be wider objections to policies or even governments. In addition,
there may be significant numbers of people who do not view the formal
processes

for decision making as legitimate or fair.

More open forms of government are sometimes pres
cribed as a remedy for at least
some of these problems: certainly, as technology becomes more complex and
remote from the influence of most ordinary citizens, there would appear to be a
need for new ways to resolve major disagreements over the way it is de
veloped and
to set widely acceptable paths for the future.

Activity 11

Read Braun’s classic paper ‘Promote or regulate’. While reading it keep the
following two basic questions in mind:

1.

What does Braun suggest are main reasons why Governments develop and
a
pply technology policies?



18

2.

To what extent can the development of technology be steered or directed
effectively by Government intervention?

The second question of course begs the sub
-
question


‘effectively’ in what terms?
That raises essentially political i
ssues e.g. to what social economic or
environmental ends might such steering be directed, and who decides? You might
also ask, should governments seek to intervene in shaping technological
development at all? As you will see Braun has his own views on this

issue, as no
doubt you will have.

PDF content unavailable

Discussion

In his paper Ernest Braun explores roughly the same ground as has been covered in
this text so far, but provides more detailed insights on why and how governments
attempt to promote and/
or regulate innovation. The following exercises are
designed to bring out some of the key points.

End of discussion

Activity 12

Write a brief list of the key reasons why, according to Braun, governments engage
in the attempt to influence technological inno
vation. Then compare your list with
the one below.

Discussion

Reasons for Government Involvement

Braun outlines some of the basic possible reasons in section 2.1 of his paper:

1
In order to strengthen the economy by stimulating economically successful
tech
nological developments. This is the promotion role.

2
In order to regulate technology, so as to avoid socially and environmentally
undesirable developments. This is the regulation role.

In section 3 of his paper he adds some more, perhaps subsidiary, reaso
ns:

3

In order to reduce the risks faced by the private sector, though this could be seen
as in support of 1 above.

4

In order to meet strategic national objectives, which may include ‘social’
objectives e.g. meeting specific social needs, providing employ
ment, or
environmental objectives, or defence related objectives.

End of discussion



19

Activity 13

Write a brief list of how you think governments might seek to influence innovation
and the development of technology, i.e. what policy measures are available to

them.
Then compare your list with Braun’s Table 1 in section 4.1 of his paper, and read
the discussion below.

Discussion

Mechanisms for influencing technological innovation

How governments seek to influence innovation may be classified in many ways.
Your
study of this Block so far should have helped you come up with a general list
e.g. in terms of R & D support, support for technology transfer and demonstration
projects, the provision of subsidies and so on.

Braun’s taxonomy in his Table 1 goes further. It

is quite complex, but it highlights
some useful distinctions. He provides a categorisation by ‘policy domains’ (left
hand column). He distinguishes (in succeeding columns) between direct and
indirect mechanisms, between general and specific targets, and b
etween the various
stages in the innovation process at which support might be given. Whether or not
you find Braun’s table useful, it does highlight the fact that the various mechanisms
can have differences in focus.

Braun provides some brief examples, wit
hin this matrix of classifications, in the
table. More flesh could be put on each entry as follows: for example at one extreme
we might have direct R & D support for specific technologies targeted at specific
companies; a less focused approach would be ind
irect financial incentives like
taxation, presumably affecting a wide range of companies and products; and at the
most general we might have the background provision of support for innovation via
information, education and training schemes.

In subsequent s
ections of the paper, Braun then goes on to describe each of these
mechanisms in more detail.

In addition to reviewing the various mechanisms available to governments for
influencing technological innovation, Braun goes beyond the purely descriptive to
ask

to what extent should government be involved.

Clearly he feels there is a need for more than purely commercial considerations to
enter the equation: he asks whether ‘social needs’ can be fed into the technology
assessment and prioritisation process, and m
ore radically, whether this might even
result in the conclusion that innovation as such was not the answer.

Braun argues that the rate of innovation may be too fast, with new ‘planned
obsolescent’ products being introduced ever more rapidly just in order t
o increase
profits, without significant gains in use
-
value or utility. Indeed he suggests that not
only have environmental problems worsened, but also that some aspects of rapid
technological development may not have been beneficial in social terms.



20

This c
hallenges the basic belief that technological progress and social progress are
fundamentally linked. Certainly there are now clear signs that rapid technological
‘advance’ has had an increasingly negative impact on the environment, and may
not be sustainab
le, in its current form.

The issue is perhaps whether technology can be managed and improved to avoid
these problems, and if so, by what political/social means, although Braun seems to
despair of this being possible.

End of discussion

Activity 14

Part 1

SN
APSHOT:Mobile Money Speeds Commerce

Mary Mwangi has a small general store in Meru, Kenya. She has just received a
call from a family friend and occasional supplier of stock to her shop who lives in
Nyeri, nearly 100 miles away. She is told that for Ksh 7,0
00 (about $100 US) she
could secure a supply of kitchenware for less than half the usual price, as long as
she can pay for it today. This is a good opportunity for Mary as she knows that she
can sell these goods in Meru at a profit.

How does Mary secure th
is deal quickly? Time and distance are not on her side.
She doesn't hold a bank account and neither does the supplier. She does have the
cash but it is in her Meru store. She could send her money with a friend on a bus to
Nyeri but it will take most of the

day and cost a significant part of her profit.
Traveling with money is also a risk as highway robbery is not uncommon.

The answer lies in M
-
PESA (
pesa
is the Swahili word for cash). Mary recently
registered with Safaricom to open an M
-
PESA account. This w
as a simple process
that gave her access to an e
-
money account managed entirely through some simple
menu instructions on her prepaid cellphone. Ten minutes after the call from her
friend, Mary has been to a local Safaricom Airtime Dealer (of which there ar
e
several in Meru) and has deposited Ksh7,000 into her M
-
PESA account.

This is very similar to topping up he prepaid cellphone airtime, except she is
loading cash into her M
-
PESA virtual account. A few minutes later Mary has
returned to her shop where she
sends an SMS text message instructing M
-
PESA to
transfer half the cost of the goods to her friend's M
-
PESA account, effectively
securing the purchase with a real time funds transfer. The goods are dispatched to
Meru on the next bus, and when they arrive Ma
ry settles the remaining money by
sending another text message instruction to the M
-
PESA service. Making this
payment quickly and securely by cellphone cost Mary Ksh60 (less than a dollar).

The M
-
PESA service is fast, secure, and very cost
-
effective. It is

opening up new
opportunities for businesses like Mary's all over Kenya as well as supporting
person
-
to
-
person money transfers, or remittances, which are common in many


21

economies where the bread winner supports an extended family, often many miles
away. (H
ughes and Lonie, 2007, p.63)

Discussion

How did it happen?

M
-
PESA was the result of a good idea and fortuitous circumstances. Against a
backdrop of donors looking for new ways to deliver funds to those in need and a
growing focus on alleviating poverty by
encouraging enterprise, “a hand
-
up rather
than a hand out” (Hughes and Lonie, 2007), the UK’s Department for International
Development (DfID) were looking for opportunities to use their capital to
encourage business through joint investments with the priva
te sector. Vodafone top
executives had an idea that they were looking for sponsorship for. They pitched for
DfID funds and were successful in winning £1million, funds which the company
matched. Thus, DfID helped subsidize the investment risk. Vodafone had
part
ownership of a local telecoms company, Safaricom, who would launch the M
-
PESA project with the help of a project manager from Vodafone.

M
-
PESA as a project faced formidable financial, social, political, technological and
regulatory hurdles. In
-
order t
o implement, Vodafone, as the parent company, had to
marry the incredibly divergent cultures of global telecommunication companies,
banks and microfinance institutions and at the same time negotiate the large and
often contradictory regulatory requirements
.

(Adapted from: Hughes and Lonie, 2007)

End of discussion

Part 2

If you want to find out more about M
-
PESA the following URLs have been
provided:

“M
-
PESA: Mobile Money for the
"Unbanked" Turning Cellphones into 24
-
Hour
Tellers in Kenya”
, Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie,
Innovations: Technology,
Governance, Globalization
, 2 August 2007

M
-
PESA: Progress
and Prospects
, Tony Omwansa, 2009

The economics of M
-
PESA
, William Jack and Tavneet Suri (August 2010)

Why has M
-
PESA become so popular in Kenya?

Discussion

Both Vodafone and DfID were critical in realising this project. The Department for
International Development made available a public sector challenge loan to
Vodafone. These are loans made available t
o the private sector for initiatives that
address challenges to providing a public good. This loan defrayed some of the risk


22

to Vodafone, who matched the DfID funding, and made the project viable.
Vodafone provided a project manager to Safaricom to provide

the necessary
expertise to expedite the project and to negotiate the legal regulatory framework in
Kenya as well as bridging the different cultures of companies involved in
delivering the innovative technology. As Mas and Radcliffe (2010) have written:

M
-
PESA’s market success can be interpreted as the interplay of three
sets of factors:
(i) pre

existing country conditions
that made Kenya a
conducive environment for a successful mobile money deployment;
(ii)
a clever service design
that facilitated rapid ad
option and early
capturing of network effects; and
(iii) a business execution strategy
that helped M

PESA rapidly reach a critical mass of customers,
thereby avoiding the adverse chicken

and

egg (two

sided market)
problems that afflict new payment systems.


End of discussion

The next case study clearly built on the M
-
PESA technology reinforces many of the
learning points from the M
-
PESA case study. Thus, the success of a technology is a
blend of social and technological developments. Thus, the responsivenes
s of
Kenyan society to a range of simple, secure and cheap financial products offered
through developments in mobile telephony produced a successful synergy.

Activity 15

Read the M
-
KESHO case study and answer the following question.

Recalling Taylor’s disc
ussion of incremental innovation in unit 1, discuss how the
M
-
KESHO case study illustrates this concept. Taylor defined incremental
innovation as ‘technological modifications or improvements to an existing product,
process or system.’ (1996, p.16)

M
-
KESHO
in Kenya: A new step for M
-
PESA and mobile
banking.

M
-
KESHO is a savings account that is the result of a partnership between M
-
PESA’s Safaricom and Equity Bank in Kenya. M
-
KESHO customers, as with M
-
PESA, do not get charged huge fees (only a small withdraw
al fee but no opening or
monthly account fees) and the accounts do not require minimum balances.
However, this account does pay interest. They are also linked to an emergency
credit and insurance facility. The flexibility of the M
-
KESHO account sets it apa
rt
from a regular bank based savings account. Instead of only being able to conduct
transactions against the account at one of the 140 Equity Bank branches in Kenya,
M
-
KESHO customers can use any of the 17,000 M
-
PESA retail outlets. This is
because the acc
ount works in a similar way to any other mobile banking application
through a user interface on the mobile phone. It is also available through Equity
Bank’s own mobile banking service. Customers can deposit or credit money to
their account using their M
-
PE
SA account and which they turn into cash at the M
-
PESA outlet.



23

Safaricom is now discussing with other banks to see if they want to use M
-
PESA to
make their banking options for customers more flexible. There is currently
however, a short
-
term exclusively te
rm in the contract between Safaricom and
Equity Bank relating to co
-
branding, use of M
-
PESA agents and user
-
interface
integration.

Some of the key features of M
-
KESHO and the operation;

Product suite

M
-
KESHO is a package of financial products issued by
Equ
ity Bank that runs on the M
-
PESA transactional lines.
The core product is a savings account, but account
holders can also tap into loan and insurance facilities.

Branding

It is jointly branded by Safaricom and Equity Bank


瑨ty
潷渠瑨o⁢牡湤na湤潧漠o潩
湴ny⸠周e⁦楲獴⁰s牴r⁴ e潧漠
瑡步猠s晴f爠瑨r⁍
J
m䕓䄠汯A漬⁷桩汥⁴桥⁳ec潮搠灡牴⁨r猠
瑨攠扲潷渠o潬潵爠o映f煵楴y
瑯 ⁩ 潯歳潲 j
J
m䕓A
J
汩步⁴桡渠 煵楴y
J
like). ‘Kesho’ means ‘future’ in
䭩獷h桩h椮⁓漠瑨oy⁡re⁰ 獩s楯湩湧⁴桩猠s猠s潲
a獰楲s瑩潮o氠
獥牶楣e⁴桡渠j
J
m䕓䄬⁷桩捨⁩猠h潲o
晵湣瑩潮o氮

Marketing:

Equity Bank and Safaricom have developed a joint
marketing plan with joint funding to market M
-
KESHO.

Account terms

Like existing Equity and M
-
PESA accounts, the savings
account has no account ope
ning fees, minimum balances
or monthly charges. Like M
-
PESA accounts, there are no
monthly statements or passbooks. Unlike M
-
PESA
accounts, it pays interest (though not very much: 0.5%
-
3% depending on saved balance) and does not have a
limit on account bal
ances.

Account linkages

M
-
KESHO customers must have an M
-
PESA account
(and hence be a Safaricom customer). In addition, they
may have a normal Equity Bank account and this can be
linked to their M
-
KESHO bank account, but that is not
required.

Account ope
ning

Under the new agent banking regulations in Kenya,
account opening cannot be delegated to agents. So
account opening will take place either at branches or at a
subset of some 5,000 M
-
PESA agents at which Equity
Bank will place a bank representative. (T
hese are students
paid on commission) Customers must bring the original
plus a photocopy of their ID and two photographs (at
agent locations their picture will be taken on the spot with
a digital camera). Customers complete a relatively short
and simple ap
plication form, but accounts won’t be active
畮瑩氠㐸⁨潵牳慴l爮

Account management

M
-
KESHO accounts are held in a server that is owned,
hosted and operated by Equity Bank. Equity Bank has the
right to up
-
sell M
-
KESHO customers to full Equity Bank


24

Product suite

M
-
KESHO is a package of financial products issued by
Equ
ity Bank that runs on the M
-
PESA transactional lines.
The core product is a savings account, but account
holders can also tap into loan and insurance facilities.

accou
nts when their account balance reaches KSH 10,000
= USD 133.

Deposit/withdrawal
options:

M
-
KESHO only takes electronic transactions, offering no
direct cash in/out possibilities. Money can flow into and
out of the M
-
KESHO account either from a customer’s
j
J
m䕓䄠Acc潵湴爠o潰o楯湡汬y⤠F牯洠r潲浡氠l煵楴y
Ba湫⁡cc潵湴⸠o
J
KESHO customers can’t do cash
瑲t湳nc瑩潮猠o琠慮⁅煵楴y Ba湫⁢na湣栠瑥汬h爬⁢畴r⁣潵牳o
䕱畩by⁢牡nc桥猠s牥⁍
J
m䕓䄠A来湴猠n漠瑨oy⁣a渠f楲獴i
ca獨⁩湴漠敩瑨敲⁴桥楲⁍
J
m䕓䄠潲⁅煵楴y Ba湫⁡
cc潵湴o
a湤⁴桥渠瑲a湳ne爠瑨r a浯畮m⁩湴漠o
J
䭅p䡏⸠K
J
PESA’s
浩湩n畭⁴牡湳nc瑩潮⁳oze映 p䠠㄰〠e⁕卄‱⸳〠M湤n
浡m業畭u瑲t湳nc瑩潮⁳oze映 p䠠㌵ⰰ〰‽⁕卄 㐶㜠
a汳漠慰灬y⁴漠
J
䭅p䡏K

Accessing M
-
KESHO
through Safaricom’s M
-
PESA phone menu

M
-
KESHO customers

will have one more item on their
M
-
PESA menu that says ‘M
J
KESHO’ (their M
J
m䕓䄠
浥湵⁷楬氠le琠te晲e獨s搠d畴潭a瑩ca汬y癥爠瑨r⁡楲i異潮u
牥g楳i牡瑩潮⤮⁁⁳畢 e湵n瑨敮⁡汬潷猠o畳瑯ue牳⁴漠晵汬y
浡湡ge⁴桥楲⁍
J
䭅p䡏⁡cc潵湴o⁴牡湳ne爠浯湥y 瑯t晲潭o
瑨敩t⁍
J
m䕓
䄠Acc潵湴Ⱐoe煵q獴⁡⁢s污lce⁩湱畩ry 潲楮o
J
獴慴s浥湴
污獴⁦楶l⁴牡湳ac瑩潮猠潮oy⤬Fa湤⁡灰py⁦潲⁴桥
汯慮l⁩湳畲 湣e⁦ c楬楴楥献

Accessing M
-
KESHO
through Equity’s Easy
24x7 phone menu

Equity has its own mobile phone user interface for its
customers,

available through a number of channels:
JAVA, WAP and USSD. Customers will have the option
of managing their M
-
KESHO account (including
transferring money in either direction between their M
-
PESA and M
-
KESHO accounts) from either their M
-
PESA phone menu o
r through the Easy 24x7 service.

Credit facility features

Loans must be requested from the mobile phone, and are
for amounts between KSH 100
-
5,000 = USD 1.30
-
67.
Equity intends to use a credit scoring system based on the
balance and transactional history
of the customer on their
M
-
PESA, M
-
KESHO and normal Equity accounts (if
any) for the previous six months. There is an application
fee that depends on the amount, ranging from KSH 20
-
500 = USD 0.27
-
6.67. Overdue interest is charged at 3%
of outstanding bala
nce.

Insurance facility
features

This is limited to personal accident insurance for the first
year, then it is upgradeable to full life insurance cover. It
is optional, and customers apply through their mobile
phone. Annual premium is KSH 530 = USD 7 if p
aid
annually in advance (the premiums are higher if
customers choose to pay on a monthly or weekly basis


25

Product suite

M
-
KESHO is a package of financial products issued by
Equ
ity Bank that runs on the M
-
PESA transactional lines.
The core product is a savings account, but account
holders can also tap into loan and insurance facilities.

reflecting the time value of money.

If you want to find out more about M
-
KESHO the following URLs have been
provided:

M
-
KESHO in Kenya: A new step for M
-
PESA and mobile banking
; article by
Ignacio Mas, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Kenya: M
-
Kesho Heralds a New Dawn for E
-
Commerce

M
-
PESA meets microsavings with Equity Bank deal in Kenya
, Jim Rosenberg:
Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Discussion

M
-
KESHO built on the success of M
-
PESA. It
developed the M
-
KESHO product
to offer a further range of services to customers that acknowledged the demand for
a more sophisticated and varied offering of financial products through mobile
telephony. Taylor defined incremental innovation as ‘technologica
l modifications
or improvements to an existing product, process or system.’ (1996, p.16). While the
case study does not tell us much about the technological developments, it is likely
that the extension of services required the development of new functiona
lity for the
M
-
PESA user interface on customers’ mobile phone and compatibility with Equity
Bank’s own mobile banking service.

End of discussion

6 The move to firms, technology
strategy, systems of innovation and
‘publics’

The study of technology policy an
d innovation is dynamic. The study of technology
shaping has brought an overtly social dimension to what was once an overtly
economic and political perspective. The study of innovation processes, instead of a
narrow focus on studies of science and technolo
gy, also added a strong jolt. The
emphasis on innovation processes has moved research closer to the point of
production and use. Innovation research has moved from study of one
-
off
innovations, to whole industrial sectors, and to the role of the firm. Alto
gether this
has allowed a more integrative approach to emerge in the last decade


the study of
systems of innovation.



26

In that way, the processes of innovation are shown to be systemic and involving
more than a good knowledge of scientific discovery and it
s application.
Nonetheless, the study of innovation is not just about looking for ways of
commercializing science. Faulkner’s synthetic research on the different types of
knowledge used in innovation (1994) illustrates the rich and diverse mix of
theoretic
al and practical skills required.

Recently, another dynamic has emerged in policy studies of science and technology
-

that of the ‘public’ (or perhaps ‘publics’). Debates over environmental damage, in
particular, highlight that the public has become extrem
ely cynical about certain
types of official expert advice. One response has been to advocate that more public
understanding of science is undertaken, implying that scientists need to educate the
public so that they are better informed about science and thu
s more accepting of it.
However, another response has been that the scientists may be part of the problem
and need educating also, since they seem to be so out of touch with common
concerns of citizens groups. This leads to the view that there is not one ‘
public’, but
citizens with different situations and concerns and thus no one best approach to
innovation.

A study led from the Open University (Policy Influences on Technologies in
European Agriculture
-

PITA) looked at whether the world’s biggest agro
-
che
micals companies trying to commercialize genetically modified crops have
changed their innovation systems in the light of public disquiet about risks and
uncertainties (Tait et al, 2002). These companies have traditionally seen their key
users/customers as

farmers, one particular type of public. They are also
increasingly confident in dealing with government and EU regulators, who can be
seen as a kind of ‘filter’ for public concerns. But the research showed that they
were much less confident in dealing dir
ectly with public concerns, whether directly
articulated, for instance via the media, or via non
-
government organizations.

To summarise, in this unit I have introduced two related big issues


technology
shaping and technology policy. In technology policy,

I mapped the moves from
government/market approaches towards more multi
-
social agent approaches, where
the different ‘publics’ wish to participate more in what some see as the risky and
uncertain environments of new science and technology. This change is,

at one
level, a result of major scientific uncertainty leading to more organized public
concern (for example, as a result of nuclear accidents and more recently mad cow
disease). But also this opening up of science and technology increases opportunities
f
or more social groups to become involved in the pressure for increased public
accountability of new technologies.

As we saw earlier, technology policy analysis and research has historically focused
either on issues of promotion or on issues of regulation.
Technological promotion
can take the form of initiatives to promote a whole technology (like IT or
biotechnology, aerospace or renewable energy technologies), an industrial sector
(like electrical engineering or construction), a section of industry (like s
mall and
medium enterprises), or even a specific firm. It can also take a regional perspective,
such as when measures are proposed to address the uneven technological
development across a country, or say the European Union.



27

Policies to promote technology w
ere a significant part of the successful
development of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries of East Asia, as
well as China, India, and Latin America. Almost all those countries which became
independent after the second world war, in Asia, Afric
a and the Caribbean
established formal policies to promote technologies and encourage those with such
technologies to invest.We have seen that the classic notion of technology policy
meaning state policy for technology has broadened considerably


both to
encompass the role of different interest groups in shaping public policy, and to take
up the increasing use of initiatives that are mixed public/private, or require public
steering of private and voluntary activities.

Conclusion

We have covered a lot of gr
ound in introducing technology policy and the shaping
of technologies in this unit. We chose these two concepts because they correspond
to important theoretical perspectives in the study of innovation. The study of
technology policy has been historically d
ominated by economic approaches,
particularly those economic approaches that focus on institutions and evolutionary
perspectives. The technology shaping approach has brought rigorous social
perspectives to technology policy and innovation. In the next unit
, we look at the
institutional context of technology policy and innovation.

Next steps

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References

Bijker, W.E., Hughes, T.P. and Pinch, T.J. (eds) (1987) The Social Construction of
Technological Systems, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Braun, E. (1996) ‘Promote or Regulate: The dilemma of innovation policy’, Section
1 of
Block 5 Tech
nology Policy
, T302 Course, Open University.

Callon, M. (1987) ‘Society in the making: the study of technology as a tool for
sociological analysis’, in Bijker, Hughes and Pinch, pp 83
-
103.

Faulkner, W. (1994) ‘Conceptualizing Knowledge used in Innovation:
a Second
Look at the Science
-
Technology Distinction and Industrial Innovation’, Science,
Technology and Human Values, 19, 4, pp 425
-
458.

Hughes, N. and Lonie, S. (2007) “M
-
PESA: Mobile Money for the "Unbanked"
Turning Cellphones into 24
-
Hour Tellers in Ken
ya”
Innovations: Technology,
Governance, Globalization
, August 2007
http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/m_pesa

Hughes, TP (1987) ‘The evolution of large tec
hnological systems’, in Bijker,
Hughes and Pinch, pp 51
-
82.

Law, J. (1987) ‘Technology and heterogeneous engineering: the case of Portuguese
expansion’ in Bijker, W.E., Hughes, T. P. and Pinch, T.J. (eds)
The Social
Construction of Technological Systems,
C
ambridge, MIT Press.

Mackenzie, D. and Wajcman, J. (1985) ‘Introductory essay: the social shaping of
technology’, in Mackenzie, D and Wajcman, J The social shaping of technology.
Open University Press.

Tait, J., Chataway, J. And Wield, D. (2002) ‘The life
science sector: evolotuion of
agrobiotechnology in Europe’,
Science and Public Policy
, no.29, pp.253
-
58.

Taylor, Ernest (1996): T302 Innovation Design Environment and Strategy, Block 1
An Introduction to Innovation, Section 2 (pp 43
-
63) The Innovation Proc
ess,
Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources:

Quotes

Mas, I. (2010) ‘M
-
KESHO in Kenya: a new step for M
-
PESA and mobile banking’,
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, [online]
http://financialaccess.org/node/2968



29

‘Toilet Parties in the Nairobi Slums’ blog post taken from
http://www.nextbilli
on.net/blog/kenya
-
dispatch
-
toilet
-
parties
-
in
-
the
-
nairobi
-
slums

Quote from
http://undertoldstories.org/stories/acumen
-
funds
-
new
-
kind
-
capitalism

Figures

Figure 1 from
http://www.nextbillion.net/blog/kenya
-
dispatch
-
toilet
-
parties
-
in
-
the
-
nairobi
-
slums

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