Publication commentary

Research interests

1) Inclusive innovation
2) Digitalisation in lower income countries
3) The digital trade agenda
4) Other


1) Inclusive innovation

My work on innovation has focussed broadly on the idea of inclusive innovation, using the case of low income mobile phone and mobile money networks in Kenya

Theorising inclusive innovation – There are a growing number of innovative small scale activities linked to ICTs in low income countries, particularly in the informal sector.

  • In an early analysis I explored research directions for ICT micro-enterprises (paper).
  • Later, I explored how inclusive innovation fits with systems of innovation models, and how these models might need to be adapted (paper).

Inclusive innovation and BoP practice – The above theoretical work led to empirical insights in the Kenya mobile phone sector.

  • I explored M-Pesa from an local ‘cash agent’ perspective, looking at the interplay between local innovation and firm activity as central to scaling (paper).
  • I extended this analysis within my PhD thesis, to try and understand the networks of mobile phone distribution in Kenya (PhD chapter 7).
  • Bringing these ideas together, I build a more generalised model of how firms might support localised innovation as a key tenet of their inclusivity and scaling (paper).

Inclusive innovation policy – My work on inclusive innovation has also brought insights on policy.

  • Using empirical material from Kenya, I have explored policy for inclusive innovation in the ICT sector, moving beyond market regulation (paper).
  • I have also highlighted risks emerging around ICT innovation quality that have been rarely discussed (paper).

I have also looked to generalise this work in Kenya into a wider policy framework to aid policy makers in thinking about inclusive innovation.

  • I suggest some key policy aims around inclusive innovation (paper).
  • This is extended through a wider literature review of inclusive innovation interventions as part of a policy brief (paper)

Quantifying inclusive innovation – Given the lack of quantitative work on inclusive innovation, I am currently exploring how we might measure inclusive innovation focussing on the Kenyan agriculture (paper)


2) Digitalisation in lower income countries

In East Africa, I have been involved in researching the impact of improving connectivity on production, particularly how it might impact of the ability of firms or entrepreneurs linking into globalised networks.

Analysis of impacts of connectivity in East Africa – As part of this work I have produced a number of outputs:

  • A detailed report focussing on the impacts of connectivity in the tea sector in Rwanda (report)
  • A detailed report focussing on the impact of connectivity on the tourism sector in Rwanda (report).
  • We analyses the impacts of connectivity across three sectors in two countries (paper).
  • This work was part of a wider set of projects in Oxford exploring uneven geographies of information in Africa (paper).

Digitization in the global south – From this above work, additional analysis has explored the broader changes of the digital in the globalized economy :

  • Digitization in the South suggests changing forms of governance in Global Value Chains (paper). I also extended our research in East Africa with a wider global review of digitisation in the South (background paper)
  • Global Production Network perspectives are valuable for their analysis of power but framework was quite poorly linked to the digital. We discuss how such a framework might better consider the role of the digital (paper).
  • It is common to use Transaction Cost models to explore digital disintermediation, but we find such accounts are often lacking (paper)

3) The digital trade agenda

We explore growing interest in policy for the digital economy and data, particularly from the perspective of cross-border trade:

Conflicts on digital trade/e-commerce – Discussing the drivers and political economy behind the digital trade agenda:

  • In a working paper, we explore the wider drivers behind these trends linked to developing and emerging economies (paper).
  • We have also examined digital trade and the implications for Africa, particularly realted to WTO debates (paper)

Digital policy and digital industrial policy – Examining more closely how digital policy might become a new type of industrial policy

  • Drawing on a policy analysis of digital rules in China we also explore how such digital policy is being constructed (paper)
  • Two working papers highlight more global frameworks for digital policy with case studies from Brazil and Indonesia (papers)
  • Discussion on e-commerce policy in the African FTA to support continenetal integration and development (paper)

4) Other

Some other sporadic pieces of work:

  • Two working papers exploring Big data for development projects in India exploring two cases studies (working paper on urban transport, working paper on electricity)
  • A book chapter exploring the benefits and limits of using M-Pesa within social protection schemes, and lessons for other countries (paper)
  • A working paper suggesting that practitioners should think more strategically about the learning process that emerge in ICT4D project (paper)