Innovation pathways at the Base of the Pyramid: establishing technological legitimacy through social attributes

Hall, Jeremy, Matos, Stelvia V and Martin, Michael J C (2014) Innovation pathways at the Base of the Pyramid: establishing technological legitimacy through social attributes. Technovation, 34 (5-6). pp. 284-294. ISSN 0166-4972

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Abstract

Two challenging imperatives we face today are the amelioration of global poverty and reducing environmental impacts such as global climate change. This article discusses these challenges in the ‘Base of the Pyramid’ (BOP), impoverished socio-economic groups from underdeveloped regions that have traditionally been excluded from economic participation. Drawing on the BOP, global value chain and latecomer literature, we propose five innovation pathways for social and environmental improvement within poor communities. We extend Geel’s (2002) new socio-technical landscape framework, Hall et als' (2011) and Hall and Martin’s (2005) framework for innovative uncertainties and Aldrich and Fiol’s (1994) legitimization processes by proposing a ‘hurdles and levers analysis,’ suggesting that in addition to overcoming technological and commercial hurdles, social attributes play a key role in BOP innovation dynamics. Two illustrative cases are presented; an initiative to replace candles and kerosene lanterns with semiconductor white light-emitting-diodes (WLEDs) in various BOP locations; and the development of naturally colored cotton in poor regions of Brazil for sale locally and abroad. We argue that social uncertainties in particular may act as ‘levers’, compensating for initial technological and commercial deficiencies, thus providing technology developers time to improve. The paper concludes with implications for policy and future research.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Tahir Beydola
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2019 08:43
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 11:43
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/88301
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