A seminar on ‘Public Policy for grassroots frugal innovations: a lesson for learners’ was organized by IIM Bangalore on 7th January 2016. The session was presented by Prof. Anil K Gupta who is the founder of Honey Bee Network and executive Vice Chair of National Innovation Foundation. The session focused on his mission of putting people in the developing societies, who are knowledge rich but economically poor, out of the morass of mediocrity and on to the path of sustainable, democratic and diversified progress. One of his ways of achieving this mission was by walking (around 6000 kms across India) for about a week, every summer and winter, for the past 17 years as a part of a Shodh Yatra (journey on foot), to celebrate creativity at the grassroots, to learn from teachers in those communities and to share creativity of communities encountered so far.
In the event, Prof. Anil Gupta stressed that ‘Language shapes the habit of thought’ and also that people with innovative ideas should never remain anonymous, instead they should be acknowledged unless requested otherwise. In order to make India a global leader in sustainable technologies, he established the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI, 1993) and Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN, 1997), two voluntary organization which support the Honey Bee Network and to scale up and convert grassroots innovations into viable products. He also helped to set up the National Innovation Foundation (NIF, 2000) assisted by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India to make India an innovative and creative society.
He also stressed that patenting helps poor people and that the small entrepreneurs always had high ethical capital than the large corporations. He also talked about an incident where a young girl came up with an idea of a modified walker with adjustable legs , for which she was given a non- exclusive license. (http://nif.org.in/innovation/modified_walker_with_adjustable_legs/672 )
His research interests include, but are not restricted to, expanding global, national and local space for grassroots inventors, to ensure recognition, respect and reward for them; protection of their Intellectual Property Rights; ethical issues in conservation of biodiversity; linking innovations, investments and enterprise and creating knowledge network at different levels for augmenting grassroot innovations. Lastly, he concluded his session by saying that children are the source of good ideas and we should nurture their creativity.
Authored by Anjali Santhosh.