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Discussion

Multi-sectoral Actors and Multi-scalar Reach of Innovation Process

This case study has shown that there was involvement and knowledge contribution from a diverse range of actors across private, public and third sectors at the micro- (local), meso- (national) and macro- (international) levels throughout the CBT innovation process (Table 1).

This case study has shown that knowledge dynamics are strongly connected to individuals and to the specific organizations that commit to learning, developing knowledge and stimulating knowledge exchange. Furthermore, how these individuals and organizations transfer knowledge and create synergies beyond individual social enterprises is a crucial factor in moving single initiatives towards a social movement. By tracing the various sources of ideas and influences during the innovation process, the knowledge biography approach reveals a multi-sectoral, multi-scalar reach for the CBT social innovation. For instance, COHED’s goals and practices in developing Mai Hich CBT are influenced by (1) the donors’ agendas and values, and (2) the government’s green-growth strategy. Arguably, the project donors, through the provision of funding, have significant influence on the innovation’s goals, which in turn need to be aligned with their own agendas and values. In

Table 1 Mai Hich CBT actors

Sector

Actor

Third sector

COHED (local)

Other local NGOs (local)

Donors (MISEREOR and Bread for the World) (international)

Other INGOs/Donors (international)

Public sector

Mai Hich local government (local)

Other local governments (national)

Vietnamese government (national)

National leaders (international)

Private sector

Tourism experts (national)

Tour companies/operators (national/international)

Domestic/International tourists (national/international)

this case, CBT was used as part of a larger, MISEREOR and Bread for the World funded project for poverty alleviation in an ethnic minority community whose focus was on supporting ‘the weakest members of society’ (MISEREOR, 2015, p. 1). This influence is reflected in the case study, which showed the continuous involvement of MISEREOR and Bread for the World in the first four phases of the CBT social innovation, before their role was replaced by other donors/INGOs in the consoli- dation/scaling up phase (phase 5).

Additionally, the CBT social innovation process is also influenced by metastrategy and developmental frameworks from the public sector, which were first developed at the international level before assuming down-ward influences at national, regional and local levels. The Green Growth strategy in the case study is a typical example. Green Growth strategy has its origin from the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development where, in 2005, 52 national leaders from Asia and the Pacific region reached an agreement to pursue a path of ‘green growth’ (United Nations, 2015). Recently, the multi-level reach of the Green Growth strategy has extended to the Vietnamese government and in turn shaped the agendas and practices of Mai Hich government and local NGOs, including COHED. Consequently, the Vietnamese government and national leaders contributed throughout all phases of innovation process in the knowledge biography.

Multi-scalar reach of the CBT social innovation is also found in the private sector. The demands and expectations of consumers occupy a central role in service industries such as hospitality and tourism. Indeed, market adaptability via the continuous identification and integration of (at the very least), tourists’ wants, needs and expectations into products and services has enormous bearing on the competitiveness of the CBT. In the case of the Mai Hich CBT project, not only domestic and international tourists, but also tour operators and tourism experts were encouraged to (and did) directly contribute to the ‘open innovation’ or ‘co-creation’ of the CBT social innovation development.

 
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