, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 221–237 | Cite as

The Future of Innovation Studies in Less Economically Developed Countries

  • Logan D. A. WilliamsEmail author
  • Thomas S. Woodson


In this paper, we argue that there are patterns of innovation occurring in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) that have been historically overlooked by the innovation studies literature, including the literature on innovation systems and the triple helix. This paper briefly surveys cases in agriculture, banking, biomedicine and information and communications technologies that demonstrate organizational, scientific and technological innovation in Africa, South Asia, and Brazil. In particular, we track new developments in two distinctive patterns within LEDCs: (1) civil society as a site of innovation and; (2) innovation through appropriation. By systematically uncovering patterns of innovation in LEDCs, science and technology policy scholars may make new theoretical gains in innovation studies that can potentially contribute to innovation policies in the global South.


Developing countries Innovation studies NGOs Civil society Less economically developed countries Appropriation 



We thank Susan Cozzens and Ron Eglash for their comments on an earlier draft of this article. We also appreciate the special issue guest editors Arie Rip and Daniel Sarewitz; their comments were very useful as we were revising the draft. Logan D. A. Williams is grateful for the Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Fellowship that is funding her dissertation fieldwork in Nepal and India on the non-profit eye hospitals Tilganga and Aravind. Thomas S. Woodson would like to thank the National Science Foundation for funding his studies through the Graduate Research Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Technology StudiesRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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