Open Innovation and Knowledge Appropriation in African Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs)




open innovation, collaborative dynamics, knowledge appropriation, access to knowledge (A2K), intellectual property (IP), micro and small enterprises (MSEs), informal sector, Africa


This article seeks enhanced understanding of the dynamics of open innovation and knowledge appropriation in African settings. More specifically, the authors focus on innovation and appropriation dynamics in African micro and small enterprises (MSEs), which are key engines of productivity on the continent. The authors begin by providing an expansion of an emergent conceptual framework for understanding intersections between innovation, openness and knowledge appropriation in African small-enterprise settings. Then, based on this framework, they review evidence generated by five recent case studies looking at knowledge development, sharing and appropriation among groups of small-scale African innovators. The innovators considered in the five studies were found to favour inclusive, collaborative approaches to development of their innovations; to rely on socially-grounded information networks when deploying and sharing their innovations; and to appropriate their innovative knowledge via informal (and, to a lesser extent, semi-formal) appropriation tools.


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How to Cite

De Beer, J. and Armstrong, C. (2015) “Open Innovation and Knowledge Appropriation in African Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs)”, The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC). South Africa, (16). doi: 10.23962/10539/19315.



Thematic Issues: Intellectual property rights and knowledge access