People’s Festival of Innovation 2023
The second iteration of the People’s Festival of Innovation (PFI), November 28th to December 2nd, 2023, at the India International Centre (IIC) in New Delhi, recognized and celebrated 40 grassroots innovators and 40 deep tech bioentrepreneurs from across the nation. Attendees were offered a platform to participate in conferences, panel discussions, and storytelling sessions, exploring perspectives on the design, commercialization, impact, dissemination, and evolution of innovations spanning a range of technological complexity. By pooling the expertise of innovators with that of academicians, policymakers, industry leaders, students, and other stakeholders, the Festival aims to foster dialogue and long-term collaboration.
Innovators shared their exciting journeys towards diverse sustainable, inclusive, and frugal solutions. Nayak Suratanbhai and Nayak Kavliben from Chhota Udaipur brought samples of Hariyali Handi, their naturally non-stick earthenware, and Shaik Rajalipasha from Telangana demonstrated his motorcycle helmet that enhances road safety for hearing-impaired persons. Young innovators like Nabajit Bharali, who showcased his sensor-based automatic feeding machine, and Tejaswi Velugapally and K. Pragnya Sree with their food storage solution Techredi, were featured alongside veteran farmers Ram Vilas Maurya who shared guavas of his G-Vilas variety, and P. Bhaskaran whose backhoe loader offered an affordable alternative to JCBs. Several deeptech innovators made a social impact as well, such as Muskan, Abhishek and Radhesh whose Golden Feathers brand employs tribal women to create textiles and paper from waste chicken feathers, and SKUAST-affiliated Dr. Khalid Z. Masoodi, Aqib Hurrah and Azmaan Shafi who developed a low-cost plant-based prostate cancer therapy.
The second half of the Festival was dedicated to showcasing innovations from remote parts of Northeastern and Himalayan states, where communities must often come up with novel solutions due to unique ecological, infrastructural, and resource-utilization challenges. Rafiq Ahanger of Anantnag had brought his advanced bukhari which efficiently uses wood, charcoal, or waste mobil oil to provide warmth for longer, and can even be used to cook food. A pyrolysis-based plastic to fuel machine made by Meghalayan innovator Just Synrem generated a great deal of interest. A wide selection of products made by community organisations from Baramulla, West Sikkim and Kiphire, under the brand The Little Himalayan Co. were appreciated by visitors.
This iteration of the People’s Festival of Innovation built on the groundwork of cross-sectoral dialogue, resource-sharing, and active policy participation established by the first. There was greater focus on inclusion by featuring over twenty innovators from Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. It featured 15 recipients of the National Innovation Foundation’s (NIF) National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards. Palle Srujana (Telangana), SEVA (Tamil Nadu) and the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority were instrumental in enabling many of the grassroots innovators to participate. Through recognition, experiential learning sessions, and inter-disciplinary cooperation, the Festival seeks to create a lasting impact and grow the innovations ecosystem while setting a precedent for such future platforms.