Taking innovation to the poor: Lessons from sanitation activists in India
Ramani, Shyama V.
Sadre Ghazi, Shuan
MetadataShow full item record
There is an emerging body of literature that examines how pro-poor innovations should be created and what business models should accompany them. However, there is little on actual implementation practises and the present paper attempts to fill this void by analyzing the findings of the literature and confronting them with the actual field practises of sanitation activists in India. It demonstrates that the common thread that unifies progressive sanitation activists is their adoption of the ‘market based approach’, which works from the premise that if the facilities constructed are to be used efficiently, first a real demand must be created among end-users. Market failures stemming from the demand side are shown to be due to problems of expressions of demand as a function of perception of needs and their mismatching with perceptions of the value of the innovation which is targeted to eliminate the market failure in the first place. It also identifies how activists go beyond the academic model of assessing need, appropriateness of technology and demand to include practises for ‘accompaniment’, ‘sustainable maintenance’ and ‘generation of knowledge, demand and innovation spillovers’ in an endogenous fashion, providing an alternative to the ‘centralized platform delivery’ model’.