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India and China came together to learn from the comparative experience of both countries in grassroots innovations and to explore the opportunities for scaling up this experience at an international conference at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on December 7 and 8, 2012.

Among other things, the International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots discussed how the pursuit of innovation as public good can be blended with the protection ofintellectual property rights of grassroots innovators, the kind of eco-system interventions needed to reduce transaction costs of innovators, investors and entrepreneurs and regulators and how youth can be engaged in the process.

The conference was sponsored by Centre for Management in Agriculture, IIM-A, Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), National Innovation Foundation (NIF) and Tianjin University of Finance and Economics (TUFE), China besides International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

The conference was held in two parts with the first part being held during December 3-5, 2012 at TUFE. The two countries are already working on a project-Grassroots Innovations for Inclusive Development (GRIID) and the conference also discussed how policies favoring scouting, spawning and sustaining GRIID can be negotiated at national and international level.

The conference followed up the recommendations of the first such conference held at IIM-A in collaboration with SRISTI in January 1997. The impact of the first conference was witnessed in the form of founding GIAN (1997) and later NIF (2000). Another international workshop on Building a Global Value Chain around Green Grassroots Innovations (GRI) and Traditional Knowledge was held in June 2007 at TUFE to provide mentoring, incubation and online support to innovators and entrepreneurs in China, Brazil and India.

Anil Gupta, founder, SRISTI and IIM-A professor sought suggestions from participants on helping to create an inclusive innovation system. A section of the conference by IIM-A faculty Vijaya Sherry Chand also focused on contribution by teachers from villages towards transforming the system. Chand, who created a database of innovative primary school teachers at work invited such teachers to be a part of the conference. "We should train teachers in Gujarat to become innovators and transformers, thus inspiring the entire system. It may be a slow but certainly a successful process," said Gupta.


While the Chinese section focused on lessons from an Indo-Chinese comparative study of innovations and aimed at pooling of knowledge for creating global public goods, the Indian section of the conference concentrated on policy, institutional and community based processes which have helped or can help in creating an inclusive innovation system.

 News Link: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-12-09/ahmedabad/35704678_1_vijaya-sherry-chand-sristi-iim-a