Framing resource-constrained innovation at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’: Insights from an ethnographic case study in rural Bangladesh
Owen, Richard J.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Resource constrained-innovation (RCI) at the so-called ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) in developing countries has attracted the attention of a growing number of scholars, who present different and sometimes conflicting narratives within which such innovation is framed. These variously frame innovation as supporting the opening up of new markets in the BOP (the ‘poor as consumers’) where multi-national companies are key actors, or grassroots, indigenous innovation aimed primarily at social and environmental goals, such as inclusion, empowerment and sustainability. We present the results of an ethnographic study in rural Bangladesh in which we explored the framing and dynamics of RCI. We found that rather than following any one particular narrative presented in the literature, innovation framings merge and co-exist through a process of hybridisation. Our research suggests that further empirical study of such processes of hybridisation in the field could be valuable for understanding RCI and associated social change at the BOP. This may have broader relevance for a world where resource constraint may become an increasingly ubiquitous phenomenon
This research was totally funded by a University of Exeter Business School (UEBS) PhD scholarship. We thank Grameen Shakti for allowing access to support the ethnographic research presented. In particular, we would like to thank Shehla Nasreen and Fazley Rabbi for their invaluable help given during the field work. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments which have helped us greatly to improve the paper.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record
Vol. 92, pp. 300 - 311