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Category FOIN 2017
Title The Third Festival of Innovation, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, March 4-10, 2017
Details The Festival of Innovation (FOIN) is a unique initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognise, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem. While addressing the Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation attended by top innovation leaders of the world and several noble laureates during last two years, The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, has stressed the need for sharing Indian innovative experiences and learning from the global experience in designing, developing and delivering empathetic and inclusive innovations for the common good. He believes that while India has to learn a lot of lessons from the countries that rank on the top in the global innovation index, Indians also have a lot to share in terms of frugal and grassroots innovations. That is the only way Indian innovation quotient will go up.The third Festival of Innovation (FOIN), Rashstrapati Bhavan organized by the Office of the President in collaboration with National Innovation Foundation, and the Honey Bee Network has brought together innovation for and from grassroots to leverage the uniquely frugal and empathetic model of grassroots innovations developed in India.FOIN had several distinctions this year. The Ninth National Biennial Award for Grassroots Innovations and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge by National Innovation Foundation-India were given by the Honourable President on March 4, 2017. Mr Francis Gury, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva was a special guest of honour. The WIPO brings out the Global innovation Index on which India ranks quite low Idea was also to reinforce that how by not taking into account grassroots innovations, not only the index misses out a very important source of creativity in informal sector but also does not do justice to creative societies like India. On June 5, Mr Francis Gury, DG WIPO, was the chief guest at GYTI (Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards given by SRISTI to engineering students under techpedia.sristi.org. Fifteen of the student awardees are given Rs 15 lac each for taking their ideas forward to hopefully set up an enterprise under BIRAC-SRISTI fellowships. Dr Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, DBT, Dr R A Mashelkar, Chair, NIF and SRISTI Advisory committee, Dr Renu Swarup, MD BIRAC, Dr Anil Sahasrabuddhey, Chairman, AICTE also joined Mr Gury on the dais and gave away some of the awards. Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation continued on March 4-5, 2017 at FOIN addressed by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in the concluding session. He saidTo make grassroots innovations more inclusive, we need a strong mechanism for dispersal and quick adoption of ideas. The concept of Technology Commons used by NIF allowing fellow community members to use innovative ideas of others for non-commercial purposes has also helped in wider dissemination of innovations. These positives should continue unabated.If India becomes a growth engine for the world and provides a new model of inclusive development then she will gift a large number of open technological and other solutions for the developing and developed worlds. The global Roundtable included sessions on Inclusive Innovations; Leveraging Science, Technology and Innovation: Developing an Inclusive Ecosystem; Education for Inclusive Innovation, Development of Incubation and Acceleration Models for Innovative Startups; Incentives for Innovation in Public Policy and Programmes; and Social Innovations for Large-Scale Societal Change. A National Roundtable on Innovations in Public Service Delivery was organized on March 6, 2017. One of the highlight was the way prof Gurdeep Singh, then VC of Vinoba Bhave University, Jharkhand, handled the extreme shortage of teachers with more than three lac students to teach. He described how he asked the topper of each class to teach students. Not only that the students enjoyed it but even their performance went up drastically. While teachers shortage must be overcome, but involving bright students to teach to promote peer to peer learning seems a very effective pedagogy for improving quality of education and bringing freshness of ideas.Workshop of innovative and creative children for addressing unmet social needs was organized the next day. A mixed group of privileged and disadvantaged children were given an exposure to innovations by children. Then they were asked to visit different sites where local communities pursued manual craftsmanship in wood, stone and other such crafts. They did field research and presented their recommendations and solutions in the workshop. A national meeting of National Innovation Clubs from around several central institutions of higher education was held on March 8. They discussed best practices about searching, spreading and celebrating innovations and also sensing or finding out the unmet social needs in the hinterland. Same day, a meeting of the Design Innovation Centers (DIC) and design spokes was held for design inputs in grassroots and student’s innovations. A roundtable on Innovations in Medical Science and Bio-technology applications for grassroots was held on March 9. It was followed by a roundtable on Sustainable Inputs for Agriculture, followed by interaction of scientists with grassroots innovators.Roundtable on Financing of Innovation based Startup and Early Stage Ventures was organized by DST, AIM and NIF on March 10. The key recommendations of the roundtables were presented to the Hon’ble President. The FOIN was declared closed with the concluding address the President of India. Renowned businessman Mr Ratan Tata, Shri Pankaj Patel, Chairperson, FICCI, senior executive sof Lockheed Martin and several other thinkers, policy makers, academicians and entrepreneurs from around the world attended the session.In sync with the policies of the government of India, FOIN provides a window to creative and innovative solutions for social development through grassroots innovations, student ideas and other technologies for agriculture, rural development, sanitation, health, women and child development, biotechnology and medical innovation for grassroots. The Decade of Innovation (2011-20) is characterised by various initiatives taken by the Government of India and the President’s House to promote innovation, particularly grassroots innovation, in India and forge its linkages with the higher education system. The festival focused the attention of the nation towards the untapped potential of knowledge-rich, economically poor people. India is perhaps the only country where the head of the state hosts such a festival at his house. The President’s secretariat was assisted by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) and the Honey Bee Network. The President’s Sectariat organised three editions of the Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme, during 2014 - 2016. The fourth edition of the programme began on March 4, 2017 and included a two week - long stay of 10 innovation Scholars in Residence at the President’s House.The youngest Scholar was a student of 10th standard whereas the most veteran Scholar was in his sixties. The Innovation Scholars selected by a Jury Chaired by the Secretary to the President, Ms Omita Paul, from various regions like Nagaland; Tamil Nadu; Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, etc. Innovations selected ranged from two feet long carrot variety of Smt Santosh Pachar to silent heart attack detection mechanism of Akash; and a flute like amplifier of humming sound, Bamhum of Moa Subong to Condensation - Heat Recovery mechanism for boilers by Shri Subhash Ola. Honey Bee Network is poised to explore new approaches for creating a nurturing pathway for budding innovators and innovation based entrepreneurs. Issues discussed in different roundtables at FOINHow do we bring unmet social needs of society on the agenda of technologists working on high tech and mass impact solutions? How do we create a mindset in formal institutions to co-create solution to generate a reciprocal, responsive and respectful relationship between formal and informal sector? How to make public and private labs accessible to communities to come and discuss their ideas and take them forward alone or together?Should there be an innovation corps in every country to encourage youth to search, spread, celebrate innovations and sense the unmet social needs as being attempted in National Innovation Clubs under the guidance of the President? How to harness children’s curiosity and innate ability to think divergent for generating creative and empathetic solutions for society? Can children thus be treated as source of ideas rather than sink of advice? How to make translational research more buoyant so that technology on the shelf goes to society for transforming livelihoods of masses?When disadvantaged households invariably diversify their livelihood opportunities, how to persuade scientists to pursue inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research making solutions more accessible and adaptable?How to link market based instruments, supply chains and online platforms with offline communication and public delivery systems to make affordable, accessible and adaptable technologies also available at the doorstep of the users? How to make MLM [More from Less for Many] as the new mindset of innovators to ensure maximization of knowledge and minimization of materials and other resources?India is a diverse nation when it comes to needs, values, culture, expectations, socio-economic factors, etc. Even the same needs require different solutions. Hence, we need different innovations. When it comes to inclusive innovation, we need to think about age, gender, geography and special abilities. We need to think how science and technology can be used to bridge such gaps and create innovations that are useful to everyone.Social immersion is increasingly used as a means of triggering samvedana [empathy and compassion], but the concrete results in the form of srijansheelta [creativity] are not so evident. How can new pedagogies be generated to mold the young minds to make them more responsive to social aspirations of the excluded communities and sectors such as small industries, public system like primary health centers or schools?Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and NIF recognised and rewarded the innovations in medical and biotechnological science having grassroots applications. Ways of scaling up grassroots rural innovations were discussed.Roundtable on sustainable inputs for agricultureEnhanced agricultural productivity is paramount for meeting the food security of mankind and to sustain farming activities. Agricultural mechanization, improved seed material and crop protection have played major role in constant production of food and other sustenance. There is little awareness among farmers and users regarding the use of appropriate technology. Researchers and entrepreneurs are also concerned about a clear and supportive environment so more and more innovative technologies could reach the market in a timebound manner. In round table, there was discussion on blending grassroots innovations with modern science. The discussion developed a roadmap to support policies related for popularization and use simple, user and ecofriendly, affordable technologies for farmers.How do we enrich the ecosystem for financing innovation based start-ups, early stage ventures and new product designers?How do the students make inventory of unmet social needs in the hinterland of their institutions?
Volume No. Honey Bee 28(1) 7-11, 2017

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