Innovation for Development: A comparative analysis of improved cookstoves in Sri Lanka and Tanzania
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This dissertation analyses innovation for development. Based on the case study of improved cookstoves, it aims to understand why some innovations are more successful than others, and what is needed for successful innovations in developing countries. To reach its objectives, it undertakes a comparative analysis of improved cookstoves in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Improved cookstoves are a much-needed technology, considering that half of the world relies on solid fuels for cooking and burning these in traditional stoves is inefficient and harmful for people and environment. A comparative analysis of improved stoves in Sri Lanka and Tanzania shows that a systemic approach, long-term support, coordination of stakeholders, conditions that enable learning, inclusion of users and incremental changes of a technology, are essential for creating sustainable markets that serve the poor. These factors ultimately explain why Sri Lanka has a fully commercialized stove sector, while uptake in Tanzania, especially in rural areas, is very low. It becomes clear that innovation, although not a panacea, is important for development. In order to benefit development, innovations need a systemic approach that takes the wider framework and local context, learning, users and the nature of donor funding into account. Innovation systems theory, which is part of the theoretical framework of analysis, is valuable, however, it needs to be adjusted to the situation in developing countries. As development programmes often suffer from several factors concerning donor funding, the nature of donor support needs to be included. Eventually it shows that if improved cookstoves, as much as innovations in general, are to benefit development, they need a systemic approach, meet users’ needs and be supported until sustainable outcomes have been reached.