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Open Innovation and Knowledge Appropriation in Africa Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs)

The African Journal of Information and Communication, Issue 16, 2015.

12 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016  

Jeremy de Beer

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Chris Armstrong

University of the Witwatersrand - Faculty of Humanities

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This article seeks enhanced understanding of the dynamics of open innovation and knowledge appropriation in African settings. More specifically, the authors focus on innovation and appropriation dynamics in African micro and small enterprises (MSEs), which are key engines of productivity on the continent. The authors begin by providing an expansion of an emergent conceptual framework for understanding intersections between innovation, openness and knowledge appropriation in African small-enterprise settings. Then, based on this framework, they review evidence generated by five recent case studies looking at knowledge development, sharing and appropriation among groups of small-scale African innovators. The innovators considered in the five studies were found to favour inclusive, collaborative approaches to development of their innovations; to rely on socially-grounded information networks when deploying and sharing their innovations; and to appropriate their innovative knowledge via informal (and, to a lesser extent, semi-formal) appropriation tools.

Keywords: open innovation, collaborative dynamics, knowledge appropriation, access to knowledge (A2K), intellectual property (IP), micro and small enterprises (MSEs), informal sector, Africa

Suggested Citation

de Beer, Jeremy and Armstrong, Chris, Open Innovation and Knowledge Appropriation in Africa Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) (2015). The African Journal of Information and Communication, Issue 16, 2015.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742161

Jeremy De Beer (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Chris Armstrong

University of the Witwatersrand - Faculty of Humanities ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenune
Braamfontein
Johannesburg, 2000
South Africa

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