Exploring grassroots technological innovation: A study of informal sector enterprises manufacturing multi-crop threshers in Harare
Manyati, Tarisai Kudakwashe
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This study sought to understand the development of technological innovation at Mbare Siya So in Harare. The principal thrust of this research was to establish the causative factors or determinants of innovation, the source of skills and social networks which the informal metal manufacturers develop in the process of innovation. A qualitative methodology was used in the collection of primary and secondary data in bid to address the objectives laid out for this study. The study findings revealed that informal sector manufacturers are motivated to innovate so as to improve the way and speed in which the multi-crop threshers work. Customer prescriptions and changing socio-economic and agronomic conditions also stimulate innovations in the informal sector. The study concludes that innovation is a result of demand driven synergies which are prevalent between the rural farmer needs and the informal manufacturers’ skills and knowledge. Interaction and multiple social networks are established by the informal sector manufacturers in the process of innovation based on kinship, friendship ties and manufacturer-client relationships.