10AMBIGUITY AND MISDIRECTION? BRING IT ON! LESSONS ABOUT OVERCOMING FROM WOMEN MARKET TRADERS

José Antonio RosaIowa State University, Ames, IA, USAShikha UpadhyayaCalifornia State University, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Introduction

A recurring theme in this book is that innovation has many manifestations and that alongside highly publicized breakthrough technologies and magical experiences, hundreds of innovative and yet simple artifacts and processes come to light every day. Equally pervasive ideas are that innovation can arise from unlikely sources and that market and environmental constraints can lead to greater innovation. Constraints force us to adopt and modify current approaches just to overcome them, and they often also elicit hope and persistence that wear away the hindrances. One additional idea, albeit perhaps not as strongly argued in this book, is that creativity under constraints often involves some level of rule breaking on the part of companies and individuals. When socially accepted pathways to market gains are not accessible, rule-breaking solutions are likely to emerge in firms that wish to succeed.

This chapter looks to an unlikely source – women market traders in subsistence marketplaces – for practical insights into innovation under constraints. Examining how women market traders innovatively navigate uncertain and hostile environments, and how they sometimes break rules to take advantage of ambiguity and misdirection in market environments, makes a strong case ...

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