Hurdles in the Commercialization of Tribal and Indigenous Knowledge-Derived Technologies
Background Technologies derived from indigenous knowledge are typically user-innovations produced by the communities that use them via affordable, low-capital means of production; variability is considered acceptable. Economic, logistical, cultural, and legal barriers to broader-scale sale of these products can be substantial, especially in the field of traditional medicine, where the potential value of indigenous knowledge is particularly well known. Among the challenges are ensuring sustainable supply of material, ensuring consistent product quality by the methods expected in a given market, and complying with often very strict and expensive regulations in high income-potential markets. These burdens are often too expensive for indigenous knowledge holders to meet alone; to develop marketable products from their knowledge, partnerships with larger companies or fair-trade organizations are necessary.
Relevance This chapter reviews the challenges to developing and commercializing innovative products from indigenous knowledge.274