CIMR Research in Focus 15: Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the digital technology and contract farming fields.

Welcome to the newest edition of our ‘Research in Focus’ series, designed to highlight the significant research activities undertaken by our CIMR members throughout the past term.

In this edition, we’re thrilled to showcase the ground-breaking work within the field of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, as well as Innovation within the digital technology and agriculture fields.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship: Addressing Barriers to Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Disabled People

One of the groundbreaking papers that has emerged from our Inclusive Entrepreneurship focus is by Jacqueline Winstanley and Helen Lawton Smith, titled The Road to Wonder: Barriers and Opportunities to Creating Innovation and Enterprise Faced by Disabled People: An exploratory Study

The paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the barriers inhibiting innovation and enterprise within the disabled community. Recommended by the Inclusive Entrepreneur Network and a key component of the APPG for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programme of Work, this report addresses a critical gap in academic research and data availability in this crucial domain. The key findings and recommendations made from the authors range from creating inclusive pathways to finance, building sector-led networks, to an active inclusion in Innovation programs and ensuring ethical collaboration.

This groundbreaking report has not only been published but also presented and mentioned at significant events, including the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 and the CIMR debate on ‘Where Next for Global Inclusive Entrepreneurship?’. These platforms have provided valuable opportunities to engage stakeholders, spark discussions, and inspire meaningful action towards fostering inclusive entrepreneurship worldwide.

Innovation and digital technologies: the impact of users’ rating

The second noteworthy paper that has emerged from our Innovation research strand is authored by Daniele Archibugi and Natalia Tosoni titled ‘Is users rating becoming overpowering? The risks of inappropriate use of digital feedback’. The paper delves into the possible risks linked with ratings. Though they can aid consumers and users in addressing information imbalances, rating systems are susceptible to abuse. Combining data from various sources to create a comprehensive “overall rating” for individuals may seem straightforward, but it could result in an unwarranted surveillance system that contradicts liberal principles.

The paper identifies three types of feedback: bottom-up, transversal, and top-down, with a focus on the last one being the most concerning as it involves powerful organizations assigning and classifying individuals based on specific standards. This could lead to forms of surveillance and discrimination reminiscent of an Orwellian nightmare. The report emphasizes the need for monitoring and regulating the collection and use of such data to protect consumers and citizens. It also advocates for digital civic education to raise awareness among users about the risks and opportunities associated with feedback and ratings. Ultimately, it calls for strict public control to prevent the creation of a dangerous and illiberal digital identity for individuals.

Innovation within contract farming: a closer look at small-scale farmers in Africa

Last but certainly not least, we delve into the enlightening work of Tojonirinarisoa Nomenjanahary Ravelosaona with his article ‘Integration of Small-Scale Farmers into Innovation Management within Contract Farming Companies in Developing Countries’.

This research discusses the critical role of innovation in contract farming, particularly in developing countries like those in Africa, and emphasizes the need for a farmer-centric approach. It highlights small-scale farmers as sources of indigenous knowledge and practical expertise, challenging traditional top-down approaches to innovation. The author identifies farmers as fundamental sources of innovation ideas and emphasizes methods to recognize and prioritize these ideas effectively. It also stresses the importance of structured validation and data-driven decisions in implementing innovations.

The implications for stakeholders, including contract farming companies, policymakers, and governments, are discussed, advocating for active farmer involvement, user-centric policies, and pilot programs. The research oncludes by emphasizing the importance of collaboration between farmers, companies, and policymakers in driving innovation for a more inclusive and sustainable future in agriculture.

Stay tuned for more exciting research activity from our CIMR members on multi-disciplinary academic, industrial and commercial themes relating to the management of innovation!