Framing resource-constrained innovation at the 'bottom of the pyramid': Insights from an ethnographic case study in rural Bangladesh

Mario Pansera*, Richard Owen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Resource constrained-innovation (RCI) at the so-called 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) in developing countries has attracted the attention of a growing number of scholars, who present different and sometimes conflicting narratives within which such innovation is framed. These variously frame innovation as supporting the opening up of new markets in the BOP (the 'poor as consumers') where multi-national companies are key actors, or grassroots, indigenous innovation aimed primarily at social and environmental goals, such as inclusion, empowerment and sustainability. We present the results of an ethnographic study in rural Bangladesh in which we explored the framing and dynamics of RCI. We found that rather than following any one particular narrative presented in the literature, innovation framings merge and co-exist through a process of hybridisation. Our research suggests that further empirical study of such processes of hybridisation in the field could be valuable for understanding RCI and associated social change at the BOP. This may have broader relevance for a world where resource constraint may become an increasingly ubiquitous phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume92
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • Bottom of the pyramid
  • Developing countries
  • Dynamics
  • Hybrid framings
  • Innovation
  • Innovation narratives

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