Analyzing policy for inclusive innovation: the mobile sector and base-of-the-pyramid markets in Kenya

C. Foster, R. Heeks

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Recent interest in inclusive innovation to serve base-of-the-pyramid markets has so far produced relatively little evidence about the role of policy. Drawing on cases from Kenya's mobile phone sector that have successfully scaled innovations to poor consumers, we suggest that policy making is not only present, but can have a significant role in shaping and supporting inclusive innovation systems.In these cases, inclusive innovation has been built upon a reinforcing circle of adaptive innovation, dynamic competition, and presence of innovation intermediaries within poor communities. Following regulatory interventions that helped initiate these markets, policy has supported the facilitators of inclusive innovation in various ways. But implementation gaps can dampen innovation or allow it to proceed in directions that undermine quality.Overall, this paper offers a systematic approach for analysing the role of policy in inclusive innovation, an example of the multiple domains that must be integrated if inclusive innovation is to be purposely supported, and evidence that the implementation of such policies matters as much as their content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-119
JournalInnovation and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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