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How inclusive can innovation and development be in the twenty-first century?

Papaioannou, T

Innovation and Development   4 (2) 187–202

DOI: 10.1080/2157930X.2014.921355

June 2014

Innovation is crucial for development. Addressing twenty-first century developmental challenges requires innovative processes and products, which help in reducing and/or eliminating the gap between rich and poor in the society. Such innovations can meet basic needs of low- and middle-income groups in developing countries, providing them with capabilities to function. The aim of this paper is to answer the question of how inclusive (of people and places) innovation and development can be in the twenty-first century. The paper therefore reviews new models of innovation for development, including ‘frugal’ and ‘grassroots’ or ‘below the radar’ innovation models. The argument put forward is that their inclusiveness depends not only on their diffusion to the poor but also on their generation according to principles of participation and equity derived from contemporary theories of global justice. These are conditions with direct impact on meeting the poor’s basic needs and increasing their capabilities to function.