New article: When grassroots innovation movements encounter mainstream institutions

Marcha para cisternaA new article from the project, Grassroots innovation movements in historical and comparative perspective, is available in the journal Innovation & Development. The article gives an account of relations between three grassroots innovation movements and mainstream institutions for promoting innovation. The movements studied are the Social Technologies Network in Brazil, and the Honey Bee Network and People’s Science Movement, both in India. Analysis and discussion focuses on the uneasy relations that exist in these encounters, particularly whether to become inserted within conventional innovation agendas, or to mobilise for more transformational alternatives to existing institutions.

The article is part of a special issue on alternative models for innovation and development, which arose from a conference on the topic in which the project team participated in July 2013.

The article abstract is here:

Grassroots innovation movements (GIMs) can be regarded as initiators or advocates of alternative pathways of innovation. Sometimes these movements engage with more established science, technology and innovation (STI) institutions and development agencies in pursuit of their goals. In this paper, we argue that an important aspect to encounters between GIMs and mainstream STI institutions is the negotiation of different framings of grassroots innovation and development of policy models for inclusive innovation. These encounters can result in two different modes of engagement by GIMs; what we call insertion and mobilization. We illustrate and discuss these interrelated notions of framings and modes of engagement by drawing on three case studies of GIMs: the Social Technologies Network in Brazil, and the Honey Bee Network and People’s Science Movements in India. The cases highlight that inclusion in the context of GIMs is not an unproblematic, smooth endeavour, and involves diverse interpretations and framings, which shape what and who gets included or excluded. Within the context of increasing policy interest, the analysis of encounters between GIMs and STI institutions can offer important lessons for the design of models of inclusive innovation and development.