Executive Summary

The 3rd annual TGAP Forum will explore the theme of social innovation as a framework for addressing the challenges of governance in the Tibetan region. Through formal conference presentations, intensive small group discussions and a final day policy workshop, TGAP 2014 will seek to develop an inclusive innovation agenda for Tibet that builds on a social innova-tion perspective. As such, the Forum will draw on the insight from behavioral economics that top-down innovations often prove inadequate and fail due to insufficient understanding of the standpoint and psychology of end users (Soman 2014). The TGAP Forum will thus take into account both the supply side challenge of generating and distributing innovative solutions, as well as the demand side challenge of adjusting for low utilization rates of innovations. From this social innovation approach, TGAP Forum 2014 will ask: how can the government, the market and civil society sector play a dynamic role in delivering innovations that address socio-economic inequities and the needs of human development in Tibet? In what ways can such innovations be developed or reconfigured to generate scalable redistributions of resources, knowledge capital and life-enhancing opportunities in key areas of governance such as education, employment and public health? More broadly, to what extent can human capital and resources be leveraged to drive an innovation economy across the Tibetan region?

As a platform for policy research and dialogue in Tibet, the TGAP Forum is uniquely designed to bridge the gap between the supply and demand for innovation in the Tibetan region. With its singular capacity to convene stakeholders on the question of Tibet’s governance from across all sectors – from government and global academia to businesses, social organizations and Tibetan civic leadership – the TGAP Forum provides an opportunity to better understand both the supply and the demand sides of innovation challenges in Tibet. In its commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to questions of governance, the TGAP Forum provides distinct conceptual and methodological lenses through which to examine these innovation challenges, ranging from fields of knowledge such as economics, sociology and political science, to the applied studies of social business, community health and sustainable development. Over three days of intensive discussion and dialogue of research findings and testimonials, the TGAP 2014 will deliberate how policies, laws and regulatory frameworks at multiple levels of authority and governance can better respond to the need for an inclusive innovative agenda in Tibet. As such, the 2014 TGAP Forum will help shape and define an agenda for harnessing the spirit of human ingenuity and civic engagement in meeting the challenges of governance across Tibet.

Reference: Dilip Soman, “Behaviourally Informed Innovation,” in Innovating for the Global South: Towards an Inclusive Innovation Agenda, Eds. Dilip Soman, Janice Gross Stein and Joseph Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2014.