The Role of 'Inclusive Innovation' in Promoting Social Sustainability
39 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2019
Date Written: May 7, 2018
This special issue implores us to address sustainability from the lens of emerging economies and the role that innovation can play in this context. We posit that, for sustainable operations research to be relevant in the context of emerging economies, it needs to incorporate social concerns and conditions of underserved populations, with an emphasis on inclusion and equity. Especially important for addressing social concerns of these populations will be product/service innovation, process/business model innovation, and supply chain innovation. We further posit that successful innovation in these areas will require collaboration of for-profit firms with the public sector, civil society organizations, and communities. In this paper, we put forward “inclusive innovation” as a unifying approach that enables the collaborative integration of social issues of relevance to underserved populations in operations management decisions. We then focus on contemporary sectoral challenges in services, manufacturing, and agriculture, highlight the relevant social sustainability issues with an emphasis on those relevant to underserved populations, and point to new opportunities for research.
Keywords: social sustainability, inclusive innovation, emerging economy, sustainable operations
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