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Magazine Editorial

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Category FOIN
Title Festival of Innovation (FOIN) Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, March 7-13, 2015
Abstract The First ‘Festival of Innovation’ was organised at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi to celebrate the spirit of innovation and creativity at the grassroots. The President of India honoured the grassroots innovators at eighth Biennial grassroots innovation award function. The representatives from various countries attended the Global Roundtable to discuss policy options for empowering inclusive innovations for sustainable development. Among various topics, there were discussions on inclusive innovation, innovation ecosystem, educational innovations, biomedical and biotech innovations, sanitation, waste management and Financing of innovations.
Details Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation and Innovation Ecosystem The inclusive and frugal innovations are relevant across the countries. The roundtable brought together thought leaders from four continents, 13 countries and several states of India. The participants deliberated on policies and practices that can bring about improvements in the lives of marginalised or neglected communities not only in developing countries, but also in the developed world. The President addressed the roundtable forum after a summary of the ideas and recommendations on public policy, financing and inclusive innovations was presented.The following recommendations emerged from the Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation and Innovation Ecosystem:a) Technological innovations should be accompanied by creation of an environment for education, skill development and employment generation.b) Affordable breakthrough technologies should be supported through government investment in R&D in national institutes, universities, and industry because private funds often shun early stage innovations.c) Encourage university-based researchers and students to undertake research with community partners to ensure social relevance. d) A sustained funding for universities to run different programmes such as community connect, on farm research, student exchange etc.e) The CSR funds to be utilised for developing R&D and Innovation Ecosystem. DST can be involved in this process so that some funds can be earmarked every year for strengthening innovation ecosystem Engagement of students from countries possessing high innovation index to work with grassroots innovators in Indiaf) Third Party Certification agency to authenticate the quality of innovative p[products and service as per globally acceptable standards. g) Set up new rules and standards to mainstream innovations into the economy by relaxing public procurement and tendering norms for start-ups, and other constraints that come in the way. Global Roundtable Discussions on Social and Institutional innovation Stefan Bock, (Head of Innovation Lab, UNICEF Global Innovation Center) said that there are three issues which need to be solved while dealing with social innovation:a) Design for the user, b) Design for scale and c) Open standards which support making things available as a public good Commenting on social innovations, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus said, ÒClothing is an issue for the less fortunate, who could die during winters. Textile and clothing recycling bring social, environmental and economic benefits. A firm in Japan converts ‘waste cloth’ into clothing for the poor. They now have nine sales centres and the products are appealing to a wider section of the community. Another example of social innovation is the production of low cost mosquito nets in Bangladesh that are sold by hawkers at a very low price.Ó Anshu Gupta, described how Goonj has been running a countrywide program on ‘cloth for work’. Based on the discussion several other recommendations emerged listed in the box. The participants resolved to work on these recommendations in their respective spheres so as to develop an enabling environment for innovation to foster. Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme The second batch of Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme also started stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan for two weeks commencing from 7th March, 2015. National Innovation Foundation had helped in examining and shortlisting all the applications received for the purpose. These were evaluated on several criteria such as novelty, potential social impact, cost effectiveness, market acceptability, competitive advantage over existing technologies and user friendliness. A meeting of the committee was held on 2nd January, 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Later, the committee members reviewed the shortlisted candidates at Third International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots, IIMA. Address by the President of India While addressing the gathering during the Festival of Innovation at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee appreciated the initiatives taken so far to shape the grassroots innovation (GRI) movement in the country by the Honey Bee Network and other support agencies. He said that the tremendous ingenuity among the common people, students and others can bring smiles to the faces of millions of our people. Encouragement needs to be given to the talented youth to engage with local communities to improve their quality of life. The innovation model should focus on land to lab, instead of lab to lab. It is important that indigenous knowledge is protected, valorised and then diffused. Inclusive development is only possible when the ideas of common people are supported. There is a need to recalibrate our approach to support GRI; a strong linkage is needed between indigenous knowledge and the formal system. Building linkages requires that the leaders of universities, the finance and technology sectors acknowledge GRIs, and include GRI’s as a part of the innovation system for the benefit of society. The universities are urged to set up Innovation Clubs whose mission is to search, spread, celebrate innovations and sense unmet social needs and map GRIs. He said the festival will provide a forum for university researchers to learn about frugal and sustainable innovations. He extended a warm welcome to the Innovation Scholars in Residence attending a ten days residency programme at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Finally he said, solutions to overcome poverty, make societies happier. He quoted Albert Einstein saying “Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours. Never forget this.”
Volume No. Honey Bee 26(2) 8-9, 2015