This study is supported by three literature branches: inclusive innovation, path dependence and creation, and institutional entrepreneurship. The first branch provides a useful approach to address social concerns and needs under a direct approach to development. In turn, path dependence and creation support the study of those path-transformative alternatives by trying to build more sustainable and inclusive development. Finally, Institutional Entrepreneurship contributes to studying inclusive innovation from the actors’ perspective and understanding their role in building path-transformative alternatives. Thus, the combination of these literature branches helps in answering the following research question: what is the role of Institutional Entrepreneurs in Inclusive Innovation Initiatives supported by National Entities in local communities?
From a methodological viewpoint, this study combines an abductive approach (Awuzie & McDermott, 2017) with case study research (Yin, 2018) to study three cases from the Colombian Andean Mountains. These cases are studied in-depth, through nine months of fieldwork with semi-structured interviews, official archive documents, academic documents, news reports and articles from local newspapers, and other data gathered to triangulate the findings. As part of this study, it was found that in inclusive innovation initiatives supported by national entities (here mainly Colciencias) in local communities, institutional entrepreneurs function as channelisers. In performing this role, institutional entrepreneurs channelled the initiatives to strengthen their vision of change and simultaneously cope with pressures that resist change. This role is performed by three crucial actions, strategic analysis, bargaining, and surveillance.
Besides, to answer the research question, this study provides a set of five contributions: i. Two heuristics are developed to navigate the social complexity; ii. Building blocks to advance in understanding the notion of inclusive innovation as a multidimensional concept; iii. Instead of a linear process, the building paths process is presented in the form of phases or modules led by institutional entrepreneurs; iv. The study of institutional entrepreneurs in different settings from those reported in the literature typically; v. Finally, this research leads to a reflection on the contributions from a setting that could be identified as part of the Global South to the Global Norths.
- Inclusive Innovation, Path-transformative pathways, Institutional Entrepreneurs, Global South