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Local Innovation Processes

The projects conducted under this research theme investigate how innovation happens in community-based contexts, focusing particular attention on inclusive, multi-stakeholder innovation processes in under-studied contexts such as rural farming communities and smaller cities and towns. What characterizes processes of innovation in these contexts, and how do these processes differ from the models of innovation used by industry, policymakers, and large development actors? 

We explore these questions through studies of inclusive innovation processes across a wide range of geographic and cultural contexts. 

Related Publications and Resources 

Understanding inclusive innovation processes in agricultural systems: a middle-range conceptual model (World Development) 

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems (Agricultural Systems)  

Local Innovation: what it is and why it matters for developing economies (MIT D-Lab Working Paper, 2018) 

From Innovators’ Perspective: Processes of Grassroots Innovation in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Advised MIT Master’s degree thesis, 2016

Inclusive Systems Innovation

Examining processes of inclusive, multi-stakeholder local systems innovation…read more

Learning from Local Innovators

Documenting processes of local innovation from around the world… read more


Strengthening higher education capacity for development-oriented research and innovation in Guatemala …read more


Elizabeth Hoffecker
Principal Investigator

Eunhae Lee
Graduate Research Assistant

Ahalya Ramgopal
Undergraduate Research Assistant


Kings’ College London
Circular Design Lab

Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) 


USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub within the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI)

Next Area: Innovation Ecosystems