Understanding the role of local innovation in development

IDIN’s research program explores the role of local innovation and grassroots problem solving in improving community wellbeing and addressing development challenges associated with poverty. 

Our research is organized into three areas:

  1. Local Innovation Processes and Ecosystems: 
    Increasing our understanding of how local innovation works and how innovation processes and ecosystems can be described, mapped, and analyzed. 
  2. Development Impacts of Local Innovation: 
    Investigating the development impacts of local innovation, helping us understand why and how local innovation matters.
  3. Enabling and Scaling Local Innovation:  
    Exploring the role that global networks play in enabling local innovation and spreading the development impact of local solutions and approaches.

Through synthesis of existing evidence and a portfolio of research projects, our multi-disciplinary team is developing actionable knowledge for practitioners, policymakers, and communities on how local innovation can be encouraged and leveraged as an effective development strategy.

What is Local Innovation?

Local innovation refers to processes and products that are created and used by people to address challenges and opportunities present in their local context in ways that are novel and more effective than the prevailing practices within that context.

What is a Local Innovation Ecosystem?

A local innovation ecosystem is a place-based community of interacting actors engaged in producing innovation and supporting processes of innovation, along with the infrastructure and enabling environment which allows them to both generate and disseminate solutions to local challenges.


Contact:  Elizabeth Hoffecker, Research Manager for IDIN and lead researcher for D-Lab's Local Innovation Group.