‘Inclusive Innovation’ refers to the knowledge creation, acquisition, absorption and distribution efforts targeted directly at meeting the needs of the low-income or the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) population. The focus of Inclusive Innovation is on delivering high performance products and services or high experience at ultra-low cost to the people whose needs are generally not addressed. Here is a compact working definition:
"Inclusive innovation is any innovation that leads to affordable access of quality goods and services creating livelihood opportunities for the excluded population, primarily at the base of the pyramid, and on a long term sustainable basis with a significant outreach."
Dr. R A Mashelkar, President
Inclusive Innovation will have to be aimed at `extreme reduction’ in both the costs of production as well as the distribution.
This means that in the long term, the ‘affordable access’ must not depend on the government subsidies or generous government procurement support systems but should work by retaining the market principles with which the private sector works comfortably.
Inclusive Innovation should result in the creation of quality goods and services because we have to recognize the basic rights of the people at the base of the pyramid. The objective of an Inclusive Innovation is not to produce low performance, cheap knock-off versions of rich country technologies in order to sell them to poor people. That would be getting ‘less for less’. Inclusive Innovation gets ‘more from less’ – it harnesses truly sophisticated science or technology or truly creative non-technological innovation to invent, design, produce and distribute quality goods and services that are also affordable for the majority of the people.
Inclusive Innovations should provide access of goods and services to the excluded population, primarily at the base of the pyramid. The excluded population could include the poor, the disabled, the elderly etc. For true inclusion, the 2.6 billion people with incomes of less than US$2 per day should be the primary beneficiaries of Inclusive Innovation.
The benefits of inclusive innovation should reach a large number of people (a significant portion of the target population), and not just a small section of the population.
GRA and Inclusive Innovation
The Global Research Alliance (GRA) believes Inclusive Innovation requires a holistic and new way of approaching demand-driven projects and co-creation with partners such as end-users, technology organisations and both the private and public sectors. This includes: success through technical innovation (products), social innovation (interaction/co-creation), management innovation (business models); and chain innovation (relationships in the value chain). Inclusive Innovation is not new to the GRA. Over the last few years, the GRA has systematically addressed global challenges through the deployment of Inclusive Innovation initiatives.