The transformation of sociotechnical systems is considered necessary for
achieving the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). However, this
transformation process is inhibited by institutional inertia of the
public sector, vested interests of the private sector, routine habits of
individuals, and increased complexity of globalised activities. While
policies to stimulate the transition exist, these policies and pathways
are still considered insufficient. Meanwhile, there are many individual
private initiatives taking place to advance the societal agenda.
Although these are still isolated actions of new actors, they have the
potential to become broader movements bringing disruptive advances
through innovation. This study explores the potential of innovation
ecosystem to understand the emerging private sector initiatives to meet
social agenda through innovations that are disruptive and inclusive.
Four types of businesses are examined: venture capital, an incubator,
venture start-ups, and a social impact fund. A common feature underlying
these cases are the creation of tailored innovation ecosystems that
effectively utilises complementary assets. Currently these activities
are self-generated without much government support. However, by aligning
with public policy impact can be accelerated towards achieving the SDGs.
Examining cases as 'signals' provide hints for how policy can be
formulated to scaled-up and transform currently isolated private
Keywords: Innovation Ecosystems, SDGs, Emerging business, Complementary assets, Transformative change, Asia
JEL Classification: O35, O38, M13