5

Advancing Knowledge and Evolving Society

Alfonso Fuggetta

CEFRIEL and Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Abstract

This chapter discusses the nature of research and innovation, two fundamentals processes that govern the development and growth of our society. Too often, these activities are loosely characterized or, conversely, overloaded with many interpretations and assumptions. This confusing vision is the underlying cause of the numerous unsatisfactory results and unfulfilled expectations that are experienced during the overall process in moving from basic research to societal impact. As a consequence, it is necessary to better understand the nature of research and innovation so as to address the many challenges and issues that our society is facing in a more effective and convincing way.

The chapter discusses the nature and characteristics of these two activities, by emphasizing their differences and distinguishing elements. Section 5.2 characterizes research and innovation according to a number of dimensions and aspects. Section 5.3 briefly discusses the relationship between innovation and technology transfer. Finally, Section 5.4 briefly discusses CEFRIEL, an innovation and technology transfer center, from which most of the observations and concepts discussed in this chapter originated.

5.1 Introduction

Modern societies are centered on the creation, dissemination, and utilization or application of knowledge. Knowledge enables the design of new products and services, increases ...

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