Grassroots Innovation: The art of building pathways of social inclusion and sustainable developmentPradipta Satpathy
Each and every sector that humans are associated with, is on a continuous path of graduating hand in hand with innovation. This very word "innovation", has changed the caricature of the world that we are living in.
A lot of innovators all around the world offer promising new ideas and practices, but often struggle to scale up and spread beyond a small niche. At this stage, grassroots innovations emerge out as the need of the hour.
Grassroots innovations assist us to reach at some effective solutions to the problems that we have never identified and recognized as "problems" at the first place. Grassroots innovations are the inventions to minimise the problems that have been ignored or just been taken for granted since ages. These innovations in one or other way, not only tackle the technical part of a problem, but also focus at the economical as well as social parts.
A set of bottom-up projects collected successively to create sustainable development are called Grassroots innovations. It involves using frugal resources to create innovation in creative ways that has a deep respect for the environment.
Now, I'd like to draw your attention to a set of reasons to why we need to shift our focus to the whole idea of grassroots innovation. The world is full of people with bright ideas in their minds. There is no scarcity of innovations, but a lot of them are just not getting executed in the right direction. A considerable number of innovators develop amazing products but often end up stagnating at the prototyping stage. A major drawback is that most of them lack the resources to properly furnish the product and test it out.There are lakhs of such innovations stuck somewhere in the way towards being consumed by the mass. Grassroots Innovations have the same story too but they are quite unique in their own ways.
A few important characteristics of these Grassroots innovations are:
● they emerge as a result of needs rather than curiosity.
● they focus on developing community products i.e the ones that fulfill the needs of a community on a whole rather than the requirements of an individual.
● the making and consumption of these products involves a more economically feasible and eco-friendly approach.
● these products promise for a sustainable future.
Now I'm quite sure that such sets of characteristics must have led you towards thinking that Grassroots innovations are full of potential which are to be provided with a fair value and market place in the economy.
Although, in the recent times the government is recognizing such innovations, but the main concern still lies in the commercialization and acknowledgement of such innovations.
I mean, how many of these innovations have found a place in popular e-commerce websites even after earning recognition? I agree with the fact that the government is building new enterprises for these innovations, but creating a whole new entity every time for such innovations would get hectic at a certain point of time. Also, we can't guarantee that the business would reach out to every possible target consumer.
According to me, a possible solution to these problems would be to direct our focus towards linking these innovations to already existing entities in their particular innovation sectors rather than building a whole new entity each time.