Journal of the Association for Information Systems


This paper examines how innovative uses of IT artifacts and their repurposing to fulfill emerging or unsatisfied user needs (bottom-up innovation, BUI) develop in community settings. Based on a longitudinal analysis of “HomeNets,” communities that developed residential internet access in Belarus over a 20-year period, we illustrate that the development of community BUI is driven not only by the needs of the innovating members but also by the interplay between the innovating members’ community context and technology and the interplay between the BUI technology and context. We demonstrate how these dynamics trigger community BUI development that goes beyond the needs and expectations of the innovating actors and impacts community evolution and long-term survival. Based on our findings, we develop a model of community BUI development. We discuss the theoretical implications of our findings, highlighting the role of technology and context in community BUI and its processual unfolding beyond the needs and intentions of the innovating members.





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