The Hybridity of Inclusive Innovation Narratives Between Theory and Practice: A Framing Analysis

Opola, Felix Ouko; Klerkx, Laurens; Leeuwis, Cees; W. Kilelu, Catherine


Inclusive innovation remains an under-conceptualised and ambiguous concept despite garnering political and academic interest in recent decades. This paper explores the narratives of inclusive innovation that exist in literature and how these are framed in practice, using a case study of the Kenyan agricultural sector. Findings indicate that while there is significant similarity between the theoretical and empirical framing of the concept, there are also stark differences. In addition, different actors such as the state, development agencies, the private sector or universities do not fully ascribe to any of the existing theoretical narratives on inclusive innovation. Instead, they frame it based on their own contexts, mandate and interests using concepts borrowed from existing theoretical narratives. This indicates that instead of a grand theory of inclusive innovation that applies universally, there are several ways of enacting inclusive innovation. This also limits the transferability of a one-size-fits-all model of inclusive innovation.