Is the Tata Nano an example of ‘inclusive innovation’? What about solar lighting? How do we determine what is inclusive or pro-poor? Is it about the degree of income generation or saving that is created, the degree of viable business opportunity that a new product creates or is it about the process of innovation around the product more generally?
On 6-8 July researchers from around the world gathered at the Open University to discuss these questions, and particularly what we mean by ‘inclusive innovation’. Over one and a half days using a range of interactive sessions – many conducted outside in the sunshine as the UK basked in an heat wave – researchers considered how their own standpoint – and not just current research results – determine how we think about inclusive innovation.
On the last morning, we asked a range of policy stakeholders to join us so that we could see how current academic thinking matches the policies and programmes currently being put forward by donors and NGOs.
The workshop set out with the following aims:
No definitive outputs were arrived upon by the end of the event to any of these aims. However, for me, the workshop did result in a recognition of the importance of multiple voices in this discussion area, and the opportunities that are created from multiple voices.
The discussions highlighted the need for multiple voices from a range of perspectives in order to ensure that the complexity of this very area is not lost in any attempt to formalise. Diversity of opinion and debate is essential at this burgeoning period of research in inclusive innovation.
Further discussion on this topic occurred at the Globelics 2013 conference held in Ankara, Turkey on 11-13 September 2013 during a roundtable discussion on ‘inclusive innovation’. The roundtable included two short presentations of examples of inclusive innovation from the health and energy sectors, which were used to stimulate discussion on the multiple approaches to inclusive innovation, relating to: