Chapter 13: Grassroots innovation: mainstreaming the discourse of informal sector
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Producers' innovations represent the holy grail of economic development. Yet innovations have recently come under fire for perpetuating exclusion. Non-dominant innovation models are increasingly promoted to facilitate inclusion and have been proposed to tackle global concerns such as poverty and climate change. Informal sector innovations have especially captured development scholars' attention, including grassroots innovations (GIs). GIs are born outside organizational structures and without planned R&D but have been misconceived as lacking historical context. This chapter details the factors spurring GIs' marginalization, namely by deconstructing an elitist portrayal of innovations and illuminating the pro-market innovation narrative that has undermined subaltern innovators' contributions. By critically synthesizing the extant literature through a multidisciplinary lens, this chapter highlights the political and economic rationale behind GIs' relative exclusion. Proactive measures to devise hybrid innovation models and sustainable innovation policies are also highlighted to enrich the GI narrative in today's innovation landscape.

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