Capacities, Development and Responsible Innovation

  • J. Otto KroesenEmail author
  • Rudi Darson
  • David J. Ndegwah


Moral aspects of capacity building as part of responsible innovation deserve a more central place in the development debate and research. This comes to the fore in the capacity to deal with project implementation and the attitudes and values involved in it. The authors first provide some clarifications on the concept of capacity, emphasizing the value laden meaning of the concept and relating it to responsible innovation. In development programs different value sets and attitudes are confronted with each other, leading to different capacities, often competing for priority. Two cases involving capacity building in technology are analyzed, one on the introduction of tropical greenhouses in Kenya and one on the renovation of a vocational school in Surinam. This shows the central meaning of learning processes and careful and intense cooperation with the owners of the change processes. These are important aspects of innovating in a responsible way. The authors propose a path dependent way forward, prioritizing different values and cultural traits (and related capacities) according to time, situation and need. With that objective in mind—in order to innovate responsibly—there is an important role for the (meta-)capacity to alternate between different values and capacities, finding the right rhythm and equilibrium between different modes of behavior and cooperation, thereby integrating different values into a comprehensive strategy for development.


Capacity Capacity building Economic culture Knowledge Innovative learning processes Stakeholder involvement Responsibility Sustainable development 


  1. Arond, E., I. Rodriguez, V. Arza, F. Hewrrera, and M. Sanchez. 2011. Innovation, sustainability, development and social inclusion: Lessons from Latin America, STEPS Working paper 48, Brighton: STEPS Centre.Google Scholar
  2. Balassanian, D. 2006. Institutional reform and change management: Managing change in public-sector organizations. A UNDP capacity development resource. (Retrieved May 10, 2013).
  3. Barronschool. 2005. Visieplan Barronschool 2005–2010. Report about the vision of selectable a sunny and the school.Google Scholar
  4. Barronschool. 2007. Handleiding portfolio. A report for students on how to keep a portfolio.Google Scholar
  5. Barronschool. 2008. Eindrapport pilotproject portfolio Barronschool 2008. An internal report for the Barronschool on the results of the portfolio in a project.Google Scholar
  6. Basak, A., A. Kasiem, and R. Rampersad. 2012. Onderwijs Techniek Barronschool. Student internship report TU Delft.Google Scholar
  7. Bell, M. 2006. Time and technological learning in industrializing countries: How long does it take? How fast is it moving (if at all)? International Journal of Technology Management 36: 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bell, M., 2009. Innovation capabilities and directions of development. Steps working paper 33. Brighton: STEPS Centre.Google Scholar
  9. Benneheij, P. 2007. Renovatieplan Barronschool. Report for the Barronschool. Moengo.Google Scholar
  10. Cardwell, D. 1995. Wheels, clocks, and rockets: A history of technology. New York: Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  11. Chang, H.J. 2007. Bad samaritans—The guilty secrets of rich nations and the threat to global prosperity. London: Random House.Google Scholar
  12. Cherim, E., L. van Reemst, and N. Kallen. 2013. Affordable Greenhouses—Kenya. Student internship report TU Delft.Google Scholar
  13. Christensen, C.M. 2003. The innovator’s dilemma: The revolutionary book that will change the way you do business. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  14. Daniels, L. 1999. The role of small enterprises in the household and national economy in Kenya: A significant contribution or a last resort? World Development 27(1): 55–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eade, D. 1997. Capacity-building: An approach to people-centered development. Oxfam Development Guidelines (available at Google books).Google Scholar
  16. Etounga-Manguelle, M. 2000. Does Africa need a cultural adjustment program? In Culture matters—How values shape human progress, ed. L.E. Harrison, and S.P. Huntington, 65–77. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  17. Field, M., R. Hitchens, and M. Bear. 2000. Designing BDS interventions as if markets matter. In Microenterprise best practices project. Washington DC: USAID.Google Scholar
  18. Gibson, A., R. Hitchens, and M. Bear. 2001. BDS market development: A guide for agencies on the emerging development approach to BDS. In Microenterprise best practices project. Washington DC: USAID.Google Scholar
  19. Grondona, M. 2000. A cultural typology of economic development. In Culture matters—How values shape human progress, ed. L.E. Harrison, and S.P. Huntington, 44–56. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Gunst, C., K. Meijer, and V. Nowee. 2007. Realisatie tekenlokaal op de LBGO Barronschool te Moengo. Student internship report Delft.Google Scholar
  21. Hofstede, G. 1991. Cultures and organizations, software of the mind. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  22. James, R., and J. Hailey. 2007. Capacity building for NGOs: Making it work, a survey of current northern NGO approaches, OPS 5. Oxford: International NGO Training camp, Center (INTRAC).Google Scholar
  23. James, R., and R. Wrigley. 2007. Investigating the mystery of capacity building: Learning from the praxis program. Praxis paper 18, Oxford: International NGO Training Research Center (INTRAC).Google Scholar
  24. Joas, H. 1999. Die Entstehung der Werte. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  25. Katz, J. 2001. Structural reforms and technological behavior—The sources and nature of technological change in Latin America in the 1990s. Research Policy 30: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kim, L. 1997. Imitation to innovation. Cambridge Mass: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kroesen, J.O., and D.J. Ndegwah. 2012. Capacities and governance in Kenya, lessons in technology transfer. CESUN conference, Delft, (Retrieved August 13, 2013).
  28. Lall, S. 1992. Technological capabilities and industrialisation. In World development 20, no. 2, 165–186. Great Britain: Pergamon Press plc.Google Scholar
  29. Lusby, F., and H. Panlibuton. 2002. Subsector/business service approach to program design. Washington DC: USAID.Google Scholar
  30. Maturana, H.R., and F.G. Varela. 1980. Autopoiesis and cognition; the realization of the living. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Reidel & Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moyo, D. 2009. Dead aid, why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  32. Ndegwah, D.J. 2006. Understanding the nomads: The role of culture in evangelisation. In The pastoralists: A challenge to churches, state, civil society, ed. Francesco Pierli, et al. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa.Google Scholar
  33. Ndegwah, D.J. 2011. The relevance of philosophy to the development of Africa. In Rethinking integral development in Africa, ed. David W. Lutz, Paul M. Shimiyu, and George Ndemo Osengo. Nairobi: Consolata Institute of Philosophy Press.Google Scholar
  34. Nelson, R., and E.S. Phelps. 1966. Investment in humans, technological diffusion and economic growth. In The American Economic Review 56(1/2): 69–75.Google Scholar
  35. Nelson, R.R., and H. Pack. 1999. The Asian miracle and growth theory. In The Economic Journal 109(457): 416–436.Google Scholar
  36. Nussbaum, M.C. 2006. Frontiers of justice, disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Nyasani, J.M. 2010. Philosophy of development: An African perspective, reflections on why Africa may never develop on the western model. Nairobi: Consolata Institute of Philosophy Press.Google Scholar
  38. Owen, R., et al. (eds.). 2013. Responsible innovation: Managing innovation in society. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Porter, M.E. 2000. Attitudes, values, beliefs, and the microeconomics of prosperity. In Culture matters—How values shape human progress, ed. L.E. Harrison, and S.P. Huntington, 14–28. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  40. Rosenstock-Huessy, E. 1993. Out of revolution—Autobiography of Western Man. New York: Argo Books (original 1938).Google Scholar
  41. Sachs, J.D. 2005. The end of poverty. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  42. Samli, A.C. 2009. International entrepreneurship, innovative solutions for a fragile planet. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. Schumpeter, J. 1942. Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper & Bros.Google Scholar
  44. Starre, S., S. Boute, and E. Leising. 2013. Koni Mariwina Pikin. Student internship report TU Delft.Google Scholar
  45. Sutcliffe, H. 2013. A report on responsible research and innovation. Consulted 16 May 2013.
  46. Trompenaars, F., and C. Hampden-Turner. 1999. Riding the waves of culture. London: Brealey.Google Scholar
  47. UNDP. 1997. Capacity development. New York: UNDP report, Management Development and Governance Division.Google Scholar
  48. UNDP. 2001. The human development report 2001: Making new technologies work for human development. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. UNDP. 2006. Institutional reform and change management: Managing change in public-sector organizations. Geneva: Bureau of development policy, United Nations development program.Google Scholar
  50. Weggeman, M.P. 1997. Kennismanagement: inrichting en besturing van de kennisintensieve organisatie. Scriptum: Schiedam.Google Scholar
  51. Weggeman, M.P. 2000. Kennismanagement: de praktijk. Scriptum: Schiedam.Google Scholar
  52. White Jr, L. 1962. Medieval technology and social change. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. World Bank report. 1989. Cited in Civil Society and Governance in Ethiopia, Asnake Kefale and Dejene Aredo, p. 103 in Good Governance and Civil Society Participation in Africa, 2009, Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Otto Kroesen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rudi Darson
    • 2
  • David J. Ndegwah
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementTechnical University DelftDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.RotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Humanities and Social SciencesJaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and TechnologyBondoKenya

Personalised recommendations