Asia-Pacific National Innovation Systems
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Measures By Selected Non-government Organisations


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National Innovation Foundation
The National Innovation Foundation was established by the Department of Science and Technology on March 1, 2000, by offering a corpus fund of US$ 4.5 million with the main goal of providing institutional support in scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up grassroots green innovations and helping their transition to self supporting activities. It is an autonomous body and has a Governing Council whose Chairman is Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). It has its headquarter at Ahmedabad (India).

The goals of the Foundation are:

  • To help India become an inventive and creative society and a global leader in sustainable technologies by scouting, spawning and sustaining grassroots innovations.
  • To ensure evolution and diffusion of green grass roots innovations in a time bound and mission oriented manner
  • To en To provide institutional support in scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up grassroots green innovations and helping their transition to self supporting activities, seeking self reliance through competitive advantage of innov
  • ation based enterprises and/or application of people generated sustainable technologies at grassroots level.

  • To evolve strategies and conduct, co-ordinate and support research, design and development efforts in the country on grassroots innovations so as to attain and maintain technological competence and enhance self reliance.
  • To build linkages between excellence in formal scientific systems and informal knowledge systems and create a Knowledge Network to link various stakeholders through applications of information technologies and also otherwise.
  • To promote wider social awareness, and possible commercial and non-commercial applications of know-how generated as a result of above and encourage their incorporation in educational curriculum, developmental policies and programs.

To achieve the above goals, the Foundation has undertaken the following activities:

  • Scouting and documentation of innovations
  • Intellectual property rights management
  • Dissemination of information
  • Provide support to grassroots green innovations
  • Awards for innovation

Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies (SRISTI)
SRISTI, which means creation, was born in 1993 essentially to support the activities of the Honey Bee Network (HBN) to respect, recognize and reward the creativity at grassroots. Based in Ahmedabad, India. SRISTI is a registered charitable organization that is devoted to empowering the knowledge rich-economically poor people by adding value in their contemporary creativity as well as traditional knowledge.
The objectives of HBN are: systematically documenting, disseminating and developing grassroots green innovations, providing intellectual property rights protection to grassroots innovators, working on the in situ and ex situ conservation of local biodiversity, and providing venture support to grassroots innovators. SRISTI manages the Honey Bee database of innovations, and supports the publication of the Network’s newsletter in three languages, English, Hindi and Gujarati (a regional language), keeping in view the penetratration of information to grass root innovators.
Lately SRISTI has being focusing on more concerted ways of hitherto neglected domains like women’s knowledge systems, value addition through a natural product laboratory, and innovations in education.

Gujarat Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN)
It is a public charitable trust promoted by SRISTI and Gujarat Government (A State Government in Indian Union) with the institutional support of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. It was started on 1st March 1997. GIAN links grassroots innovations with investment and enterprise. Grassroots innovations are essentially solutions generated by people at the grassroots levels to tide over persistent problems, the solutions to which are either not available or not affordable by a large section of the consumer masses in developing countries like India. These innovations, therefore, capture an unmet need of a large section of the population and building a value chain around these innovations to take them to market holds the potential of wealth creation in a truly sustainable and equitable manner. The objective of GIAN is to build the value chain around these innovations with the end objective of making these available to the masses through the market mechanism or otherwise. It attempts to incubate high potential grassroots innovations into market ready markets through a well-established incubation process and using its strong and decentralized network. It assists innovators to take their innovations to market either through the venture development route or the technology transfer method. It has also been actively involved in helping innovators to protect their intellectual property rights.

Sustainable-Agriculture & Environmental Voluntary Action (SEVA)
It is a voluntary organization set up in April 1992. It initiated its work with specific focus on research on rural people’s knowledge systems concerning plants, environmental values and bio-diversity conservation traditions. They believe that solutions are locally appropriate and feasible when they are based on indigenous knowledge. While emphasizing preservation of indigenous agricultural practices SEVA initiated far reaching developmental efforts such as:
Promotion of farmers experimentation to test watering schedule and tree seedlings methods in dry lands
Exploration of new plant species and underutilized plants for deriving economic benefits to small holders
Preservation and dissemination of community conservation traditions such as sacred groves wasteland afforestation through women groups
Organization of Biodiversity contest for school children for transfer of knowledge from one generation to another
Publishing in regional language, newsletter for communication of indigenous agricultural technologies / farmers innovations, ethno veterinary practices in collaboration with Honey bee Network / SRISTI, Ahmedabad (India)

Rural Innovations Network (RIN)
It is a voluntary organization set up in January 2001. It avidly identifies and incubates grassroots innovations, which can have a significant impact on rural lives and lie untapped, in spite of their potential to transform lives. RIN's incubation strives to make the difference between an idea that fails and one that sees the light of day. It defines its vision in the following terms:

The key to wealth creation is technological progress, which accounts for 50 to 75 per cent of the recorded income increase in history. In rural areas, wealth creation is more sustainable if rural needs are met through the fuller expression and application of local knowledge.

In fact, rural people intimately understand their environments and create thousands of innovations that have immense potential to improve the well being of the rural population. What rural innovators don't have is access to the skills, networks and other resources needed to take their innovations to the market.

The organization believes many rural innovations can be successfully commercialized as micro-enterprises that benefit rural consumers and contribute to sustainable wealth creation. Once a model is established to transform ideas with potential into reality, a virtuous cycle comes in to operation, encouraging further innovation and wealth creation in rural areas. As an incubator, RIN impacts all aspects of this cycle - innovation, rural enterprise, rural users and wealth creation.

Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)
It was established in 2001 and is supported by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Government of Gujarat (a State Government of the Indian Union) as well as the National Innovation Foundation. Since then, a host of organizations, professionals, academicians and networking partners within India and across the globe have been closely associated with the initiatives of CIIE. Setting up of CIIE was an outcome of the first national workshop on Indian Incubator for Innovation Based Enterprise held in 1998, which brought together innovators, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, technology administrators and academics to understand the processes and policies related to commercializing technology based innovations by individual innovators. Expertise at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in areas of technology network, management, grassroots level innovations and entrepreneurship development, provided the necessary impetus and the intellectual basis for this initiative. Its objectives are:

to inculcate technology based innovations and help commercialise them through an enterprise
to conduct research as well as training and develop educational material on topics related to innovations and their evolution into viable enterprises
to disseminate research findings and related information on the management of innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship and
in addition to support of experts operating through a dynamic networking model, the students and faculty of Indian Institute of Management are closely involved at various stages in the value chain of converting innovations into products and then enterprises.

The Center runs a nation wide innovator search programme called ‘Anveshan’ to recognize innovators and idea generators. Select innovators are then offered incubation support. Also, an innovation based business plan contest is organized along with offer of incubation support to the hi-tech/high impact innovators. The support of infrastructure and network resources to commercialise innovations is usually for a period of 20 months.

Case Studies