Co-innovation for Low Carbon Technologies: The Case of Japan-India Collaboration

Working Paper

Enhanced collaboration with countries with advanced technologies is essential to closing greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation gaps in developing countries’ energy consuming and producing sectors. However, traditional models of technology transfer tend to focus on the sale of expensive technologies to developing countries, often subsidised through aid or grant programmes. These models also limit the recipient country’s involvement in the conceptualisation, manufacturing and scaling of those technologies. The high costs and lack of involvement can, in turn, generate end products that are poorly suited to local conditions while dampening incentives to promote the sale and purchase of those technologies. This paper argues that this conventional model is too static and not sustainable given fast-growing low carbon technology demands. To build a more dynamic and sustainable model, technology donor (source) and recipient (host) countries need to partner together from conceptualisation to production to scaling up. This paper examines the potential of co-innovation — a collaborative and iterative approach to jointly innovating, manufacturing and scaling up — to support Japan-India technology collaboration. The paper contends both developed and developing countries can be better off if they pool knowledge and resources with a view toward bringing faster and more efficient solutions to closing the mitigation gap.