1.      Why are you interested in supporting the OCSDNet?

I believe that fundamentally knowledge should be open. That’s the bottom line for promoting development. This belief started a while ago when I was working on my doctoral dissertation on technological standards. I examined how latecomer countries and firms caught up technologically and economically with the forerunners. I realized that the field of technological development and policy had focused primarily on knowledge in the proprietary regime. Countries and companies try to dominate the knowledge industry and to make profit from the proprietary knowledge that they have created. Although such an approach has helped create numerous innovations, so much knowledge is never distributed widely so that it helps improve the livelihoods of the poor and disadvantaged. Most of the time, people who end up benefitting from the proprietary knowledge regime are those who already have better access to the knowledge in the first place. So, I feel that there is still much to do, so that the global system of knowledge production can really benefit the disadvantaged in the society. I’d like to support the OCSDNet initiative so that we can help create more open knowledge that will contribute to the livelihoods of the people who need it the most.


  1.           What skills, insights and experiences do you bring to this initiative?

For my research and advocacy work in the past few years, I try to combine two areas of expertise: innovation and technology studies and urban studies. In the context of developing countries where rapid urbanization is accompanied by a large number of urban problems, I feel that technologies and innovations have to be brought down from the national level to the local and community levels and have to be more inclusive. To me, innovations are not just new products, services, and processes that are usually for-profit and bought and sold in the marketplace. We need to consider and promote socially- and sustainability-oriented innovations as well, especially in the context of development.  For instance, there are a lot of innovations that are created in the urban informal sector and not by hi-tech startups or large conglomerates. And yet, they contribute greatly to improving the livelihoods of the people on the ground.

I hope that my knowledge in the two fields and the experience from working at the policy and grassroots levels could help facilitate the links between researchers in the upstream stage of knowledge production and those in the downstream stage, who create, implement, and scale up innovations. I’ve been working with governments, NGOs, civic groups, and foundations in the past few years to promote innovations that are open and aimed at promoting inclusive development. I have learned that socio-economic, political, and cultural issues are critical to turning open knowledge into open and inclusive innovations and scaling them up. So I hope I can contribute to the project by helping with the grantees in disentangling the complex factors that would affect their efforts to implement and scale-up their ideas.


  1.     How do you think that your own work will benefit from being involved with OCSDNet?

Even though I know a bit about the downstream part of the knowledge value chain, there is still much more to learn. I’d like to be connected with and learn more from other people who are involved actively in the upstream stage of knowledge production. Hopefully linking with people from different continents will also help with my own work, which has been primarily focusing on Southeast Asia. By linking with African and South American colleagues, I hope to expand my academic and professional networks. I believe the open regime of knowledge production will help us learn from commonalities and differences across countries and continents, and eventually figure out what and how technical and institutional solutions could help solve problems that the disadvantaged people in our societies are facing today.

Some links to Apiwat’s work: 

  1. City innovation systems in Southeast Asia : informality, intermediaries, and incentives



  1. Universities and Councils Network on Innovation for Inclusive Development in Southeast Asia



  1. Urban Design and Development Center.



  1. Haak Square: A community-based online platform for low-income communities in Thailand



  1. Palung: A social network platform for informal workers in Bangkok