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Battling a Wicked Problem


Arvind Ashta

A school of thought hails microcredit as a social innovation, a messiah to enable people to help themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship. An opposing school of thought considers microcredit as a capitalist demon ensnaring the poor in poverty and debt. The layman and the million professionals working in this industry are at a loss to make sense of the stories that circulate about microcredit. This book provides this sense-making, useful for students, professionals, investors and researchers who are attracted to this field.

Poverty is a wicked problem, akin to Hydra, the Greek mythological monster with many heads. As microcredit tries to balance multiple objectives to grapple with these multiple heads, it has needed to shift the weapons it uses. The arsenal for this battle has needed new philosophies, changing ethics, differing missions, institutional partnerships, the latest technologies and new products. These rapid innovations have differed in speed across the world, with adaptations in developed and developing countries. This book presents these with many case studies and field research.

It is clear that development initiatives, no matter how financial, cross academic disciplines. At the very least, they affect disciplines such as economics, business management, sociology, history, geography, politics, legal systems in place, as well as science, which is evolving at such a high speed. The book provides this multidisciplinary view and motivates future research and practices.

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Business & Innovation

The creation of new activities, of news production and consumption modes, of new goods and services, of new markets and new jobs (etc.) depends as much on the heroic action of entrepreneurs as on the strategies of big corporations which develop their activities at a global scale. Innovation and business are interlinked. The main themes of the books published in this series are: Entrepreneurship, enterprise and innovation; Innovation strategies in a global context; Innovation policies and business climate; Innovation, business dynamics and socio-economic change. The synergies between innovative entrepreneurship, firms’ strategies and innovation policies is of major importance in the explanation of technological paradigms change and of the transformations in economic and social structures of wealthy and less wealthy countries. In this series are published books in English or in French specialized in economics, management and sociology of innovation and also dealing with change and entrepreneurship in a local, national or international perspective.

This series is supported by the Research Network on Innovation.

Series editors

Dimitri UZUNIDIS, Blandine LAPERCHE, Sophie BOUTILLIER: Université du Littoral (France), Seattle University (USA) and Wesford Business School (Lyon, Geneva, France, Switzerland), Research Network on Innovation.

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