Grassroots innovation holds significant potential to support the growth and development of national economies, particularly in emerging economies.
Grassroots Innovations refers to the framework of endogenous, unaided innovations by common people at community level [farmers, artisans, pastoralists, workers, and others] without any experience of working in organized sector or assistance from the formal sector. Since these individuals and/or communities have to face high transaction costs, use much less external materials, most of the innovations they develop invariably happen to be frugal.
Within this framework of Grassroots Innovations as described and propagated by Prof. Anil Gupta at IIM, Bhau Institute is going to focus on the sub segment of the framework, called:
Innovations for grassroots: This is defined to be the innovations developed by individuals or organizations for improving the socio-economic conditions of the communities and/or individuals at grassroots, i.e., in the villages or urban areas particularly disadvantaged areas / communities mostly in the areas of agritech and social innovations
It is an important element of societal development. A lot of innovation happens in informal sector that never scales up or is structured because of the lack of resources and technological know-how required for scalability.
A significant part of COEP students come from villages and who have first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities at grassroots level in their villages.
There is a great need for India to focus on not only Smart Cities but also promote the notion of Smart Villages.
COEP already has i2i program which was discussed in other section. This program encourages and enables the engineering students at COEP and other colleges to solve local village problems using technology and engineering skills and tools.
Promising successful projects which have a potential to become business success on a scalable model can be incubated at Bhau Institute.
It is critically important to support innovations at grassroots level because these villages lack the infrastructure, knowledge, technical know-how, and access to network of investors, mentors, service providers who can help make their enterprise a success. Bhau Institute will be able to leverage its resources and network to provide maximum benefit to the most resource deprived sector of innovation pyramid.