What do you think about when you hear the word “development”?

In this video, young people from around the world share their understanding of the word, “development”. In summary, “development” is complex and complicated for two main reasons. First, it requires something new and technological innovation. Second, it is a process that demands changes and progress, usually bringing a positive impact also. The following section aims to explore these reasons further.

Development requires new and technological innovation

Innovation-driven development has been a core strategy for many countries. Most notably, Michael Porter, the founder of the modern strategy field and one of the world’s most influential thinkers on management and competitiveness, initially proposed the concept of innovation-driven economic development with “innovation-driven growth” being one of the four stages of national economic development.

Mattia, a student from Italy

Many students also agreed that creating economic and social values through doing “something new” is important to making progress. Speaking on the importance of innovation to development, Mattia Nannetti, a student from Italy, said that development requires “innovating things from the technological point of view, but also in combining existing things in a different way in order to have new and better output than what we have currently.”

Christian, a recent graduate from Rwanda

While another student from Rwanda, Christian Shingiro, focused on the purposes of innovation instead: “development to me is basically the national stage of the industrialization of the country with technology, and its ability to defend itself from external threats, and the ability to respond to the objective needs of its citizens.”

Innovation has always been the crux of sustainable development in any country and society. t fills the gap between future development needs and historical reality. This is particularly true for developing economies as many are making the transition from factor-driven to innovation-driven growth and striving to fill society with innovations and innovators.

Although economic development is often the first thing that comes to mind, sustainable development has increasingly gotten the interest and attention of young people.

Lastly, most youth participants appreciate the diverse and different development choices and paths there exist across the globe.

Special thanks to all youth participants during the weekend informal discussions, Tsinghua University, and the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance (GMA)‘s Global Hybrid Classroom course: “China’s Perspective on Global Development Initiative” (you can rewatch the lecture playback at https://www.xuetangx.com/course/THU00001007670/12393016).

If you have any questions, reach out at enoch@youth4global.dev

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