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Working paper

The Four Motives of Educational Innovators

Education systems across the world are experiencing significant transformations. Grassroots innovators play an important role in these changes. To stimulate the development of grassroots innovations it is important to understand the mechanisms that underlie their creation. This paper investigates the motivation of individuals who initialize innovative projects in education. The approach to measuring motivation was adopted from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED) initially developed for social and commercial entrepreneurs. The Russian version of the methodology was elaborated and validated to study educational innovators. The sample consists of 437 participants of the Competition for Innovation in Education (KIVO). Four types of motivation are identified: social, self-realization, status, financial. They are explained within the self-determination theory (SDT) and grassroots innovations. The social and self-realization motives are inherent in all the actors, while the other two vary among innovators. This motivational structure allows the authors to differentiate between specific types of innovators – social entrepreneurs and ‘non-entrepreneurs’. The discussion, following the conclusion in this article, focuses on which environment would be favorable for developing innovations, considering the personal motives for innovative activity. The results can be valuable for education policy.