Author(s): Grobbelaar, S., R. Tijssen & M. Dijksterhuis
Publication date: 2017
In: African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development.
Volume 9, issue 1, pp. 7-19.
Title: University-driven inclusive innovations in the Western Cape of South Africa: Towards a research framework of innovation regimes.
Keywords: inclusive innovation, inclusive systems of innovation, University R & D and community engagement, South Africa, innovation for inclusive development
Inclusive innovation refers to the improvement of living conditions and creation of employment opportunities for the poor through the development or co-creation of new products, services, processes and business models aimed at resource poor communities. Based on an empirical study of 15 university-led inclusive innovation projects in the Western Cape Province in South Africa, using an inductive approach we apply an analytical framework that serves two purposes (1) to describe our empirical findings and (2) to develop a broader research agenda that identifies a number of key research questions on the role of inclusive innovation projects in developing countries, and ways of addressing those questions in future studies. The empirical findings reveal a wide variety of university departments and individual staff members engaging with low-income user groups or entrepreneurs to (co-)create, launch or operate inclusive innovations. Our analysis shows that unravelling the various structural components and functions can provide interesting new insights into the workings of inclusive innovation systems. The findings of our study illustrate the complexity of the subject matter and the urgent need for a ‘system of innovation components’ approach to enhance our understanding of inclusive innovation projects and to develop appropriate methodologies for measuring their impacts.