Inclusive Innovation and Rapid Sociotechnical Transitions: The Case of Mobile Money in Kenya
31 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 23, 2017
Mobile money innovation is at the centre of a sociotechnical transformation in the financial services sector in Kenya that saw changes in the regulatory framework, in market shares, user practices and social networks across multiple regimes. While sociotechnical transitions often take about 50 years, the mobile money revolution in Kenya has taken only 15 years, and has resulted in remarkable levels of financial inclusion of marginalised people. In this paper we combine the multi-level perspective (MLP) from the sustainability transitions literature and the Ladder of Inclusivity (LII) from the inclusive innovation literature to explain this rapid transformation. Applying both frameworks to the case enables us to elucidate potential areas for cross-fertilisation between MLP and LII, thus responding to calls for the inclusion of a social dimension in the transitions perspective, while explaining how processes of change envisioned (but weakly defined) in LII can be explored. Based on our findings, we hypothesise that a rapid socio-technical system transition takes 1) strong landscape pressures, an opening up of regime which makes regime actors willing to act and strong niche development all oriented towards the same goal, and 2) regime actors motivated by the normative goal to take risks and respond favourably to the mix of developments at all three levels.
Keywords: Sustainability transitions, multilevel perspective, inclusive innovation, ladder of inclusivity, mobile money, financial services
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