Debates about innovation in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) face a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, the erosion of knowledge systems and living conditions of many indigenous communities creates an urgent need for innovative solutions. On the other hand, indigenous communities have good reasons to be skeptical of innovation discourses as technological modernization is often a cause rather than a solution to the erosion of TEK.
The presentation will outline a framework for addressing change in TEK in three steps. First, it will introduce contextualist and procedural approaches that clearly distinguish innovation from technological modernization. Second, it will provide a robust interpretation of four dimensions of responsible innovation (anticipation, inclusion, reflexivity, and responsiveness) in the context of TEK. Finally, I will argue that the context of TEK does not only require considerations of responsible but also of just innovation that incorporate further dimensions such as indigenous self-determination.