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Exploring grassroots innovation phenomenon through the lived experience of an Indian grassroots innovator

Rajul G. Joshi (School of Business, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.)
John Chelliah (University of Technology Sydney)
Veera Ramanathan (The B-Smart Consulting Group, Brisbane, Australia.)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to stir the deliberation on understanding grassroots innovation (GI) phenomenon through the lived experience approach and attempt to address the existing void in current literature.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper outlines a human science research approach for studying the subjective reality embedded in the GI phenomenon. Such an approach provides a better and more bottom-up understanding of the underlying individual and interpersonal dynamics shaping the GI.

Findings

This study provides a richer understanding of the underlying individual and interpersonal dynamics shaping the GI phenomena. This may serve as an aid for future research on scaling, managing GI and developing entrepreneurial capabilities of the grassroots innovators (GIrs). The study also confirms that no single unilateral theory can fully explain the lived experiences of the GIrs at the ideation, opportunity recognition, prototyping and scaling stage of GI. Rather, it is quintessential to have an integrated holistic perspective for understanding GI. This study also highlights the importance of hermeneutic phenomenology in pro-poor innovation research and practice in the near future.

Research limitations/implications

This paper’s main limitation is whether the findings can be generalized in a wider context. The authors acknowledge this limitation. However, the purpose of this study is not to generalize the findings but rather provide a contextual understanding of what constitutes the lived experiences of GI. The authors recommend that a future study covering greater number of GIrs across India be undertaken to gain a better appreciation of the bigger picture.

Originality/value

Systematic approaches for tapping into GI are conspicuously non-existent and hence a contextual understanding through the proposed holistic lens will assist in thriving of the GI phenomena in South Asian countries such as India.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editors of SAJGBR and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

Citation

Joshi, R.G., Chelliah, J. and Ramanathan, V. (2015), "Exploring grassroots innovation phenomenon through the lived experience of an Indian grassroots innovator", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 27-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAJGBR-01-2014-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited