Publication: Nurturing user–producer interaction

Foster, C.G., Heeks, R.B., 2014. Nurturing user–producer interaction: inclusive innovation flows in a low-income mobile phone market. Innovation and Development, 4, 2, 221-237
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Understandings of inclusive innovation in developing country low-income markets have typically taken one of two perspectives. On the one hand, a business perspective on the role of top-down, strategic innovation from larger-firm actors. And on the other hand, a more developmental perspective that highlights the role localized practices play in making new goods and services applicable to local needs. Both are demonstrably important to successful inclusive innovation but, to date, there has been little analysis of the link between these two perspectives.

The goal of this paper is to explore the interaction between top-down and localized elements of innovation, and to provide an understanding of the conditions by which these two perspectives might be complementary. Drawing on the case of the mobile phone sector in Kenya, and adapting Lundvall’s concept of user–producer interaction, a conceptual model to understand such innovation flows is outlined. This highlights the centrality of operational links between producers and users which serve as a medium for interactive learning.

Earlier version

Foster, C.G., 2013. Nurturing User-Producer Interaction: Innovation Flows in a Low Income Mobile Phone Market. Presented at the New Models of Innovation for Development Workshop