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The challenge of innovation VOL. 55 NO. 1/2021

“Innovate or die” is a known mantra in the business world. It has already accompanied generations of entrepreneurs, reminding them that if they seek to survive on the market in the long run, “business as usual” cannot be an option. The stakeholders in development cooperation, too, have long been aware that resorting to tried and tested insights and methods simply isn’t enough when it comes to coping with global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, depletion of natural resources and a growing number of conflicts – including newly emerging epidemics.

Meanwhile, there is far-reaching agreement that progress in development in the rural regions of our world not being at the level desired cannot be put down to a lack of new knowledge. Rather, the problem is that of implementing this knowledge and hence the question of how new ideas get “from the lab to the field”, how innovative solutions can be taken to scale, and quickly at that, for there is no time to lose.

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