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Transition countries and transition towns

I went to Poznan, in Poland, to speak at a conference called World Innovation Days. In brushing up on the history of the Wielkopolska region [of which Poznan is the capital] I was reminded that Central and Eastern countries of Europe are still called “Transition Countries” – as in, transitioning from communist statehood to membership of a bright, shiny and high-tech European Union. To help them along, the EU wants transition countries to grasp the holy grail of Innovation, which is why EU money paid for most of this event.
Now in the EU, “innovation” is interpreted as high technology innovation – but, to their credit, the organisers in Poznan invited several speakers [including me] to talk about social innovation, too.
I devoted a fair bit of my piece to Transition Towns which, I told my hosts, are the most important development happening anywhere right now. I would like to report that everyone in Poznan said “Yes! We must link up with these fellow Transitioners” – but as this would entail a 180 degree policy about-turn, they didn’t. It will take a while yet.
The rest of my Letter from Poznan is here

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