Innovating by “making do with what is at hand”: Creating opportunities in low-income markets

Paula Linna

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This doctoral dissertation examines how entrepreneurs innovate within resource scarce contexts at the BOP. The more precise research questions are: How does resource-scarcity manifest itself in innovating at and for the BOP? How do innovators create opportunities in resource-scarce context? The theoretical discussion is based on bricolage, creation theory and resource-constrained innovations. This thesis consists of four articles and an introduction chapter. This thesis is grounded on qualitative research methods and each article is based on an empirical study and presents a distinctive perspective for the aims of this thesis. The first paper (article A, co-authored with Halme and Lindeman) focuses on analyzing the dynamics between the individual innovators and corporate structures within two MNCs. The second paper (article B) focuses on six Kenyan companies operating at the mobile industry sector and discusses how they generate innovations targeting the BOP. The third paper (article C) studies in detail how two Kenyan innovator-entrepreneurs use bricolage as a means of innovating. The forth paper (article D) considers creation theory as a tool for describing some of the elements of inclusive business development. The findings of this thesis underline that innovating under resource scarcity can be seen as a unique way of thinking and acting in response to daily problems and an ability to resourcefully create solutions by deploying unconventional means at hand. Innovators may not seek to develop excessively sophisticated solutions, but rather to develop "good enough" solutions. In addition, this study argues that business development at BOP markets is often ridden with uncertainties which make the innovation process risky and unpredictable. Particularly for foreign companies and local ones who are more used to serve the high-income market, the BOP market means having to deal with new markets, possibly new industry and lack of previous experience from which to draw lessons. These uncertainties can affect business development in various ways.
Translated title of the contributionInnovoida ”käsillä olevilla resursseilla”: Liiketoimintamahdollisuuksien kehittäminen vähävaraisilla markkinoilla
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Halme, Minna, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7386-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7385-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • BOP
  • inclusive business
  • resource-scarce environment
  • resource-constrained innovations
  • bricolage


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