Northern theories for Southern contexts?

Over the last two years, I have thought a lot about the use of ‘Western’ scientific theoretical frameworks to analyse phenomenon in the developing world. This question has been particularly relevant for me as an African student, studying African innovation in a European university, and mingling largely with European scholars throughout my doctoral work. Much […]

Promoting Inclusive Innovation Through Policy

I had the pleasure of participating in a conference on Innovation for Inclusive Development organised by the OECD, the World Bank and UNU-Merit. Discussions in the conference sought to find ways in which governments, private sector, the research community and other stakeholders can support the emergence of and scaling up of inclusive innovations. How does […]

The First (or Second) of a Thousand Steps: Car Manufacture in Kenya

Kenya is building cars! For a student of innovation, that’s exciting news. And given my interest in social, inclusive and frugal innovation, news of a low-cost car coming to market, developed for rural and off-road use, using locally-sourced materials, is even more exciting. OK, let me clarify: Kenya has been building (assembling) cars for a while now, but only […]

The Study of Innovation and Sustainability… What about Politics, Economics and Culture?

“Sustainability” is a notion that is hotly debated across academic and non-academic arenas. What does this term mean? The term has its origins within environmental movements, thus the common layman understanding that sustainability is synonymous with ‘green’. Over time however, the connotations of the term have evolved to incorporate economic and political overtones. Many conceptualisations of sustainability exist now across […]

STEPS Centre Summer School 2014

Two weeks of a thought provoking and intense summer school have left me excited, and intellectually invigorated. I was fortunate to take part in this year’s STEPS Centre Summer School on Pathways to Sustainability, held from 12-23 May 2014. The STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) is a think tank launched in 2006 by the […]

Inclusive innovation

Two truths about innovation: it directly contributes to economic development positively. However, innovation can also inhibit equitable development, at least in the short term. How does innovation lead to development? We create better products, put them on the market, and if they appeal to consumers, they will adopt them to substitute older, inefficient products. Competition […]