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2020 | Book

Inclusive Innovation

Evidence and Options in Rural India

Editors: Prof. Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina, Prof. Keshab Das

Publisher: Springer India

Book Series : India Studies in Business and Economics


About this book

This book discusses the role of inclusive innovation for development in rural India. It uses the evidence of innovation in the context of skewed or limited livelihood options and multiple knowledge systems to argue that if inclusive innovation is to happen, the actors and the nature of the innovation system need reform. The book presents cases of substantive technological changes and institutional reforms enabling inclusive innovation in rural manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, health services, and the processes of technological learning in traditional informal networks, as well as in formal modern commodity markets. These cases offer lessons to enable learning and change within the state and formal science and technology (S&T) organizations. By focusing on these actors central to development economics and innovation systems framework, the book bridges the widening conceptual gaps between these two parallel knowledge domains, and offers options for action by several actors to enable inclusive innovation systems. The content is thus of value to a wide audience consisting of researchers, policy makers, NGOs and industry observers.

Table of Contents


The Problem

Chapter 1. Inclusive Innovation: Changing Actors and Agenda

This introductory chapter presents the spaces, forms and norms of exclusion mainly in and of rural India. It lays the foundation for explaining the evidence on how some of these exclusions have been overcome or changed to enable inclusive innovation, and how many forms and norms of exclusion persist. Theoretically, the state with its organized policies and programmes, and the formal organized knowledge actors are the fulcrum in both development economics and innovation systems studies. When exclusion in its multiple and mutually reinforcing forms becomes invisible or part of accepted norms of development, the nature of these actors and their agenda demand specific attention. Drawing upon the findings of a research project, which was that inclusive innovation demanded reform or major changes in the innovation system components, this chapter explores the conventional dichotomy between public and private policies and decision making, the capacity of the state and the market to direct and operationalize innovation and the role of organized science and technology (S&T) in the spatial diversity and informality of rural India. The agenda setting framing of development driven by industrialization and the supply of technologies for industrialization from formal S&T derive from ex-post analysis and theorization in development economics. This makes it impossible for the key actors—the state and formal S&T organizations— to engage with the massive informality, diversity of livelihoods and knowledge and the multiple exclusions in and of rural India. The ex-post theorization of development and approaches to organize science and technology for innovation for industrialization pay little attention to the history of economic development in the West. The state was one among several actors in the West, a big enabler of multiple sources of incremental and revolutionary technological changes and several institutional innovations. This introduction also points out that contrary to received wisdom from development studies and innovation systems framework, organized scientific research and the institutionalization of public and private corporate science did not lead to but were the consequences of the first and much of the second industrial revolutions. The chapter details the organization of the book and the key evidence presented in each chapter, concluding with a demand for democratic decentralized innovation capacities fostered by communities, formal S&T and the state.

Rajeswari S. Raina, Keshab Das

The Evidence

Chapter 2. Crafts, Innovation and Exclusion: Challenges for Inclusion in a Terracotta Cluster, Rajasthan
The massive presence of craft clusters in rural India has not only been a source of local resource use and non-farm income generation but also of opportunities for innovation promising product diversification, reaching out to newer markets and networking between relevant business-state-research stakeholders. However, craft clusters, despite eulogising the craftsmanship and/or a culture of it, have suffered severe neglect in terms of inadequate policy attention that largely deprived the enterprises from participating as active entities within the regional or national systems of innovation. In addition to well-known supply-side constraints at the cluster level, the absence of or weak collective action by cluster constituents has been recognised as a major limitation of rural clusters to move up. The idea of inclusive innovation is a manner of recognising the exclusion of plaguing rural enterprises. Drawing upon primary survey-based findings in a terracotta cluster in rural Rajasthan, this paper interrogates issues in limits to innovation within an informal and poor economy context. It is observed that the specific context of production, labour process and business as a whole underscores a distinct approach in institutional innovation that would facilitate sustainable access to basic raw materials, skills and market channels. This is essential for ensuring inclusive innovation beyond the limited artefact-centric product or process innovation.
Keshab Das
Chapter 3. Factors Determining Innovation in Micro Enterprise Clusters

This paper argues that the primary drivers of innovation for micro enterprises in clusters are human factors sharpened through business processes (including learning by seeing and learning by doing), market sources (backward, forward and horizontal linkages) and market sophistication (size of the firm and nature of the buyer), in that order. Any change in or introduction of new processes, products or organizational arrangements has been considered as an innovation at the cluster level. It presents findings based on statistical analysis of primary data collected from 50 “innovators” in four clusters. Interestingly, factors related to the influence of institutional source and role of associations were found to be negatively correlated and insignificant in explaining the phenomenon, as these were mostly underdeveloped or absent in these clusters. Traditional horizontal active cooperation, the principal clustering process per se, was not a significant explanatory variable to promote innovation in underperforming underachiever clusters. Also, while market was a major mover of economic innovations, social and environmental innovations are found as a kind of push factors coming from backward linkages.

Tamal Sarkar, Nonita Yap, Geeta Vaidyanathan, Sangeeta Agasty
Chapter 4. Inclusion and InnovationInnovation Challenges in Handloom Clusters of AssamAssam

We study the dynamics of growth, innovation and inclusion in a silk handloom cluster and a silk yarn manufacturing cluster in Assam. The study is based on qualitative and quantitative data collected from 120 units in the two clusters. We observe a redistribution of production of silk handloom fabrics within and between the clusters whereby the artisans in the core areas of the cluster are increasingly specialising in premium products while subcontracting the low value handloom products to the weavers in the peripheral areas. While the reorganising of the value chain is without doubt providing weavers in the peripheral areas a foothold into the handloom market, it is happening under conditions which restrict their economic mobility due to their unequal access to policy incentives. We also note potentially stabilising role of innovation in the clusters which, though nascent and concentrated in the core areas, targets productivity improvement and reduction of drudgery in weaving activities. Our findings highlight the need for more equal distribution of policy driven incentives across space in the cluster to support not only growth and innovation but also improve the inclusion outcomes.

Priyatam Anurag, Keshab Das
Chapter 5. Informal Information-Exchange Networks in Rural Low-Tech Clusters
This chapter is about the role that knowledge exchanges through informal interaction play in innovation and learning in rural low-tech clusters. An empirical illustration based on a coir producing cluster demonstrates the significance of informal technological-information exchanges and the success of defensive strategies. We draw lessons from this and provide suggestions on how the policy discourse must appreciate and be sensitive to the role of informal learning. The findings and observations have implications not only for our conceptual understanding of learning in low-tech environments but also for pointers on technology prescription for rural low-tech clusters, to make innovation and learning a more inclusive process.
Anant Kamath
Chapter 6. Commodity Markets, Computers and Inclusive Development: A Study of Marketing and Price Formation of Cardamom with e-Auctions
The plantation sector plays a key role in fostering inclusive development in India. This chapter aims at locating the spaces and processes of exclusion in the marketing of cardamom, a major plantation crop in Kerala, and the bearing that e-auctions have in addressing them. In locating the spaces of exclusion, the study uses conceptual categories of social exclusion envisioned by Amartya Sen, like passive, active, instrumental and constitutional exclusion, to evolve new ones like subordinated or unequal inclusion, illusive inclusion and sustained exclusion. In the conventional auction system, active exclusion prevailed on account of the practice of taking a fixed quantity as a sample from all the lots regardless of its size and delay in payment along with the absence of title deeds for a large number of growers. The existence of wide variation in the price realized by different size classes of holders has been articulated as a case of subordinated/unequal inclusion. It is shown that the e-auction has been successful in addressing the subordinated/unequal exclusion. However, harnessing ICT through e-auction could hardly address the active, passive and instrumental exclusion that has been sustained over the years. This tends to suggest that in the absence of appropriate institutional innovations, the issue of social exclusion cannot be addressed only by technological innovations.
K. J. Joseph
Chapter 7. Modern Genetics as an Opportunity for Inclusive and Sustainable Agriculture

This paper argues that new knowledge and technologies need not always be exclusionary. By using the concepts of the National Systems of Innovation (NSI) framework, the present study explores the potential of 1) Hybrid Rice Technology (HRT) and 2) genomics-based Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) technology to address a) Bacterial Leaf Blight (biotic stress) and b) drought (abiotic stress) to improve rice crop in India. Scientists involved in the development and the applications of these technologies were interviewed as part of a case study during 2011–2012. The findings suggest that there is a need to integrate MAS protocols with the HRT to not only expand the scope and success of biotechnology to be more inclusive but also to avoid the extremely rigid appropriation of genetic material by a few actors. At the level of policy, efforts should aim at evolving interlocking technological and institutional innovations.

Haribabu Ejnavarzala
Chapter 8. Turnaround in Maternal and Child Healthcare: Institutional Innovation and Interactive Learning
This paper examines the impact of institutional innovation in the healthcare delivery system in rural India. With the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the approach to healthcare delivery has changed from a top-down model to bottom-up and participatory system. The implementation of NRHM has resulted in an increase in institutional delivery and reduction in IMR and MMR substantially. The appointment of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and formation of Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNCs) and Rogi Kalyan Samities (RKS) have helped bring a behavioural change among the rural healthcare users. The circular flow of information between the health practitioners (innovators) and users (rural women and children) through ASHA, Anganwadi workers and ANM has facilitated interactive learning and further innovation in the healthcare delivery system. The new institutional arrangement for healthcare provisioning has brought a turnaround in healthcare use by the rural households. Analytically, the paper uses the innovation systems framework to explain the performance of the healthcare programme. It contributes to the innovation systems literature by (i) highlighting the need for and role of institutional innovation, and (ii) emphasising that institutional innovation that leads to transformation in innovation performance demands opportunities and spaces for interactive learning.
Amarendra Das
Chapter 9. Inclusion Problems and Prospects: Introducing Gender in Agricultural Research and Education
Inclusion of gender concerns in agricultural development has gained global recognition over the latter half of the twentieth century. Though India is committed to mainstreaming gender in agricultural development, the educational and research systems of agriculture in the country are quite slow and passive in accepting and including a curriculum for gender orientation and gender analysis competence. The related systems of rural development of late have started to consider the technological needs of women for poverty alleviation. But the need for a generic orientation on gender equality and human rights perspectives in agriculture among the personnel at the cutting edge, in the educational institutions and research, remains largely unattended. This chapter presents the initiatives in capacity building for gender analysis, technology development, technology transfer and curriculum development attempted by the Centre for Gender Studies in Agriculture and Farm Entrepreneurship Development of the Kerala Agricultural University. The analysis of these innovations illustrates the problems of and the potential for including gender in the curriculum and research agenda of agricultural universities in India. It points out policy decisions for inclusion required in this context.
P. S. Geethakutty
Chapter 10. Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Nurturing the Institutional Sine Qua Non for the Informal Sector
Social enterprises (SEs) have sprouted in India over the past couple of decades, addressing several social and economic demands. But their emergence and evolution, partaking of the market and the state, has received little academic attention. Besides the compelling reason that the state has to and can play a major role in facilitating SEs that ensure inclusive development, there is an institutional imperative, a need to explore and explain the institutions (rules and norms) that are at the heart of social innovation and lead to the creation and growth of SEs. This chapter argues that the SEs embody a set of principles that are central to inclusive innovation. Here, the social entrepreneur’s capacity to question existing norms, rules and ways of working and find alternative norms that ensure social value and prosperity for the ‘excluded’ become the game changer. The analysis leads us to question what scale means to the SE, and whether and how the Indian state can enable an appropriate ecosystem for fostering and upscaling SEs.
Rajeswari S. Raina
Chapter 11. Learning from China: S&T and Innovation Policy Responsiveness
This chapter sees a strong role for governments in directing and promoting continuous interactions between the S&T organizations and policy actors for an inclusive and responsive innovation system. Different countries have depicted differences in the responsive and inclusive behaviour of their National Innovation System (NIS) providing invaluable insights to the understanding of innovation. This chapter examines India’s policy responsiveness to foster inclusive and responsive innovation through the interactive NIS framework. It does this by drawing lessons from the Chinese experience of public intervention in S&T and innovation. The issues examined include linkages of S&T with other domains of the NIS, human resource and industrial research and the innovation ecosystem. While there are complexities involved in managing S&T and innovation in India, China has successfully transformed its institutions of knowledge and learning and engaged them in the growth process through an interactive model of innovation.
G. D. Sandhya, N. Mrinalini

The Options

Chapter 12. Inclusive Innovation: Realizing the Options
The options presented in this chapter address the derelict policy learning capacities in India. With respect to the excluded rural, the cases in Part II can be placed in three groups, (i) where the rural informal actors coevolve, learn and enable innovation, (ii) where they engage with the state and organized knowledge actors to confront prevalent exclusions and enable inclusive innovation and development outcomes and (iii) where the state and its formal knowledge actors learn and work towards inclusion and innovation. This chapter presents options for proactive learning, and institutional and technological innovation among diverse actors. By presenting a platter of options to diverse decision makers, it places the onus of choice and need for interactions and learning on them. The contents and processes of change are then ontologically different from policy makers receiving prescriptions from the S&T actors. Two strategic shifts seem necessary for inclusive innovation: (i) from artefact or input or technological innovation to ways of working, rules, norms and institutional innovation, in all the informal spaces in rural India; and (ii) from the user or beneficiary of the innovation (the rural poor) to the state and formal organized S&T as co-learners, guiders and shapers of both knowledge and the economy (its actors). The theoretically conditioned expectation in development economics and innovation systems, that policy prescriptions based on ex-post evidence will lead to innovation and economic performance, is a twentieth-century construct. Inclusive innovation demands ex-ante engagement and learning, with decentralized innovation capacities and nonhierarchical selection of innovation projects. These are projects that acknowledge and cultivate human resources with local knowledge and socio-cultural systems understandings.
Keshab Das, Rajeswari S. Raina
Inclusive Innovation
Prof. Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina
Prof. Keshab Das
Copyright Year
Springer India
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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