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External impetus, co-production and grassroots innovations: The case of an innovation involving a language

Wee-Liang Tan and Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2021, vol. 164, issue C

Abstract: In the field of innovation, three constructs co-exist in different research streams that are exploring disadvantaged communities - grassroots innovations, inclusive innovations and social innovations. In this paper we examine an innovation that involves language: the revival of a language among an Aboriginal tribal community in Australia. In our qualitative-conceptual analysis of the case, we uncover that a) the innovation appears at various stages of the language revival project to cut across the typologies of grassroots, inclusive and social innovations; b) complementarities in the three types of innovation contribute to project initiation, planning, and execution. Based on these findings, we extend the conceptualization of what has been typically accepted as grassroots innovation. Specifically, our analysis of the case calls for a conceptualization of grassroots innovation to include initiation of innovations by external parties and co-production on the part of local communities. We conclude with a proposition that the dynamics of grassroots innovation, originated, observed and conceptualized in the context of disadvantaged communities, could be incorporated in organizational contexts through policies and structure that empower the members of such organizations.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2019.04.028

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