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Strengthening innovation


The Global Forum defines innovation as the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.

Innovation may apply to products, services, manufacturing processes, managerial processes or the design of an organization.


For the last couple of centuries, intellectual property (IP) has provided the basis for protecting inventions and ensuring that the inventor has exclusive rights to profit from the invention for a defined period of time. Under this system, many new drugs and health products were developed during the 20th century, contributing to human and socioeconomic development. Public sector researchers and scientific institutions in low- and middle-income countries need to understand how the IP system works to be able to capitalize on new opportunities. They need to know, for instance, how to negotiate access and how to build win-win partnerships, in particular with the private sector.

In cases where markets are weak (e.g. drugs for neglected diseases), additional "push" or "pull" mechanisms (such as public sector financing of R&D, prizes for inventions, or advance market commitments) may be required to provide incentives for innovation.