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Innovations at the Grassroot Level

How many of us can think or at least believe when told that a person with no formal education (not even a literate for our worldly and statistical understanding) and who has done nothing ‘big’ in his youth and till his middle age, and who lived for the most part of his life just above the poverty line with foot-to-mouth existence, can innovate ? that he can innovate something which can make a difference to a fairly large number of people? that he can have ideas which can be made into products that could be sold ?! Very less of us isn’t it ? Till few weeks back, I am also one of those , who believed that we needed a minimum of education or ‘outlook’ to innovate something big. I was wrong.

Since I realised this, I was continuously thinking how many more people are out there like me, not believing the same ? I am not sure, but my perception tells me there must have been lots of them. Lots.

Coming to the core of the matter, I am surprised to know of the various grass root level innovations, in some of the remotest villages of the country, either through necessity or through pure creative talent ! Some of these creative ideas were shown in the movie “3 Idiots” as well, where the village people have used the existing tools and other utilities in a just slightly different way to make them something entirely what they are not !

There must be many videos on the internet depicting all of these grass root level innovations, how each of these have come up with their ideas and how they were able to make their ideas into reality. My intention here is to create awareness at my level , so that we are not unknown to the great happenings, not too far away from us. We need to come out of this misconception that innovation and creative ideas only happen at MITs and Stanfords. They can and do happen in the nearest of the villages around you ! You just need to see.

What is troubling is the fact that, our current educational system, even after so many updates and changes, at the state and national level, is yet to encourage lower class students to open up their minds (from such younger stages itself) and it does not incentivise creative thinking. In fact , I do not see any kind of innovative thinking process generating curriculum in any of the classes ! What a pity. As a country, we ourselves deny and we ourselves does not allow the coming up kids to just not think. I agree that we are slowly transitioning from the ‘rut based’ studies to more of ‘understanding’ based studies, but that seems to be not sufficient. We need to quickly move on to the best and most important aspect of letting the young minds to think beyond the society boundaries and come up with the best of the innovations solving the problems of the country and the mankind as a whole.

I came to know that, a first standard student, just asking a small question to his father, about a doubt he had why the ‘sound making’ shoes (and the inbuilt technology, whatever it might be) he wears everyday could be used to make vacuum cleaners to clean the toughest of the stains ? ! Isn’t that pure creativity from the smallest of the minds ? There was also another idea, where a 10th Standard girl thought about having a foldable chair attached to the baggage that we carry with us at airports and other places, where we have to wait for quite sometime n could not get a seat to sit ! The simplest of thoughts, yet so much comfortable for all those travellers. This idea seems to be taken up for prototype production by one of the traveller bag making companies, hope it sees the light of day soon.

The above point brings out the importance of bringing together the already existing ideas (of course, first after identifying them all) and the entrepreneur opportunities , so that the ideas are in real converted into tangible products that could be made and marketed, for the benefit (and profit) of all ! These ideas need marketing, if not anything else.

We generally have, at least in some places, science fairs where students try and build models and other small tools and put for showcase. I am now convinced that, we should also have innovation fairs, where not just models and tools could be showcased, but any idea or even a thought, however superficial and abstract it might sound, could be showcased. It is almost like bringing in the TED talks to each of the schools (ok, for now, the private schools, to the least). These innovation fairs should be encouraged, with awards and identifying all the creative minds.

I just realised that I have already written about this topic few weeks ago ! WOW. That’s something. I was so much involved in the idea of promoting innovations that it seems I have started repeating myself. Now that I have written this far, lets have it read.


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6 thoughts on “Innovations at the Grassroot Level

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  3. What i also wanted to point out above is that, we need to also observe our surroundings , where there is indeed lots of innovation happening. We are just being blind to them. You being an entrepreneur, you know how tough it must be to find ideas, but are we searching the right places ?

    I agree to ur point to stress why we need innovation, this is to those who are still far away from these..

    Good inputs, though 🙂

  4. Yea! Exactly we need innovation at each and every sphere of the society. Innovative approach defines news dimensions of problem solving technique and
    being an entrepreneur I belive in a single quote…
    necessity is the mother of innovation ; we should also emphasize on facts that why we need innovation.

  5. Exactly ! They can simply b asked to at least think about the problems like poverty, naxalism etc, to really direct their energies and that youthful ‘fire’ … They can easily be added to the present system of education. Just one step. One step forward is what we need.

  6. Good point! Indian education system is obsessed with exams, so may be we should have one subject just on out-of-box thinking where students are supposed to solve some real life problems and also propose a couple of new ideas.

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