International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots (ICCIG 2012)

Compartimos con ustedes información sobre conferencia de Grassroots a realizarse en India y China en Diciembre de 2012 y Declaración de Tianjin sobre la temática (en inglés):

December 3-5, 2012 at TUFE, Tianjin, China and
December 7-8, 2012 2012 at IIM, Ahmedabad, India

Pursuit of inclusive innovations today is considered not only essential but also inevitable for sustainable development. However, the role of grassroots innovators in achieving such a process of development has remained less appreciated except maybe in India, China and to some extent Malaysia and Indonesia.
Including the excluded in the process of development has become a worldwide concern because the patience of the excluded is running out. The need for harmonious or inclusive development is being articulated by the major Asian economies like China and India. Other countries including the OECD ones are also debating different ways of harnessing the creative potential of masses and thus making the process of development more participatory and also innovative. The concept of the national innovation system has undergone complete transformation in India by incorporating the knowledge and innovations of common people in the formal S&T system. There is a need to bring about such a transformation everywhere. No more is the formal R&D system considered equivalent to the innovation system. Even large corporations have begun to look for ideas from strangers, users, observers and other people outside the organisation. There is no way that national governments can ignore the role grassroots innovations can play in the redesign of policies, institutions and social interactions to make society more fair and just.
Persistent efforts by numerous volunteers of the Honey Bee Network around the world over the last two and a half decades have considerably expanded the global understanding of the potential of grassroots innovators in alleviating poverty and generating sustainable development. However, a lot more remains to be done and understood. The second international conference on Creativity and Innovations at Grassroots [ICCIG] follows up the recommendations of the first ICCIG held at IIMA in collaboration with SRISTI in January 1997. The impact of the first conference was witnessed in the form of founding GIAN and later NIF. Another international workshop on Building a Global Value Chain around Green Grassroots Innovations and Traditional Knowledge [May 31 – June 2, 2007, TUFE Tianjin University of Finance and Economics] was organised to provide mentoring, incubation and online support to innovators and entrepreneurs in China, Brazil and India through a project supported by infoDev at SRISTI. The Tianjin Declaration for Promoting Green Grassroots Innovation for Harmonious Development was issued on the occasion [see annexure]. It commemorates the international solidarity for harmonious and inclusive development to support merging of grassroots, scientific, technological and institutional innovations and traditional knowledge.
It is therefore most appropriate that the second ICCIG Conference is organised from December 3rd – 5th (noon) at TUFE, Tianjin City, China and December 7th – 8th, 2012 at IIMA.
We propose to take stock of the current state of art in this field and consolidate the lessons of almost 25 years of research and action on the subject through the Honey Bee Network. We also wish to learn from other explorers who have done empirical work or are concerned about the issues raised here and wish to influence policy in various countries at different levels.
India has included Grassroots Innovations (GRI) as an inalienable part of its National Innovation System and China has also started giving considerable attention to the subject. Outside India, China has the largest database of grassroots innovations. There is a need to learn from the comparative experience of India and China pursued as a project of Grassroots Innovations for Inclusive Development (GRIID) and to explore the opportunities for scaling up this experience.
We invite you to kindly attend the two-part conference and share your insights and critique with the participants. We are also planning to discuss:
a) how open innovation platforms can be used to generate reciprocity between the formal and informal sector,
b) how the pursuit of innovation as public good can be blended with the protection of intellectual property rights of grassroots innovators,
c) what kind of eco-system interventions are needed to reduce transaction costs of innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, and regulators;
d) how policies favouring scouting, spawning and sustaining GRIID can be negotiated at national and international level providing incentives for disclosure by local communities,
e) how the youth can be engaged to overcome persistent inertia at different levels and in various sectors and spaces in various countries,
f) emerging models of supporting grassroots innovations such as the micro venture innovation fund [MVIF], technology acquisition fund [TAF] and the social initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship [SIIE] fund for creating public goods based on sustainable knowledge systems,
g) how the goals of sustainable conservation of biodiversity, other natural resources and local institutions can be blended with the goals of rapid economic growth being pursued by most countries despite current economic slowdown.

Chinese section of the Conference (3rd – 5th Dec):
Lessons from an Indo-Chinese comparative study of innovations will be drawn and implications for cross-cultural learning and pooling of knowledge for creating global public goods will be explored. The role of local authorities, farmers’ associations, youth organisations, inventors associations, formal R&D institutions and the state S&T system in augmenting technological and institutional innovations will be studied. The entrepreneurial ecosystem for taking GRIs forward, including innovations by school children, will also be explored.

Indian section of the Conference (7th – 8th Dec):
Purpose: To take stock of policy, institutional, and community based processes which have helped or can help in creating an inclusive innovation system. How can IPR policies be tweaked to develop new granular models of incentivising innovative individuals and communities and also of expanding the public domain. How can multi-media, multi-language technologies be used to democratise the access to sustainable technologies globally? What are the new models for engaging professional experts for design, fabrication, validation and value addition, etc., in GRIs. How can a million strong young tech students be mobilised to attack the civilizational inertia in the region and the world.
We hope that you will send us your confirmation for participation soonest. If you wish to share your own experience with policies or institutional interventions, then please send an extended abstract of about 2-3000 words by September 10th, 2012. Please help us to spread the word so that we can learn from various efforts pursued in this direction. If you can attend only one part of the conference, please preferably join on December 3rd – 5th (noon) at TUFE, Tianjin, China.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Email:

ICCIG 2012 – Programme
Dec 3rd – 5th, 2012 TUFE, Tianjin, China
3rd Dec, 2012
09.00 – 10.30 Plenary session: Indo-Chinese initiative for mobilising grassroots innovations for harmonious development and creation of public goods
11.00 – 13.00 Frugal, flexible and user-friendly innovations: presentations and policy implications in four parallel sectoral discussion sessions:
Session I: Agricultural, animal husbandry and forestry related innovations
Session II: Mechanical and electrical utilities for local and industrial use
Session III: Energy generation, conservation and distribution for sustainable resource use
Session IV: Other innovations for reducing drudgery and expanding livelihood options
14.00 – 14.45 Innovation exhibition and interaction with innovators
15.00 – 17.00 Two parallel sessions
Session V: Role of University students in promoting GRI: presentation by TUFE students followed by group discussion
Session VI: Role of stakeholders in promoting GRI: presentation by local bodies followed by group discussion
4th Dec, 2012
09.00 – 11.00 Institutional innovations for inclusive development: contribution of farmers’ associations, local authorities, youth organisations, inventors associations
(presentation by leading grassroots institution builders in China followed by group reports of discussion sessions V and VI of day one)
11.30- 13.00 Group presentations of sectoral discussion sessions I to IV of day one: documentation, adding value, incentives and dissemination
14.00-15.30 Plenary presentation on Indian incentive models followed by discussion session
Session VII – X: Portfolio of incentives for technological, institutional and educational innovations: parallel sessions to evolve new instruments and initiatives
16.00—17.30 Presentation by groups VIII – X followed by discussion on learning from Indo-Chinese experience
Dec 5th, 2012
09.00 – 10.30 Panel on policy and institutional implications of incorporating GRI in National Innovation Systems: international experience
10.45 – 11.45 Panel on entrepreneurial ecosystem for taking GRIs and children ideas forward: international experience
11.45 – 12.30 Summing up: valedictory session
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch and departure

Dec 7th – 8th, 2012 IIMA, Ahmedabad, India
Dec 7th, 2012
9.30 – 11.00 Plenary session: Innovations for inclusive development: quarter century journey of the Honey Bee Network
11.30 – 13.00 Presentations on innovation policy landscape : international experience
14.00 – 15.30 Discussion session A: functions and platforms (four parallel sessions)
i) Taking stock of policy, institutional, and community based processes for creating an inclusive innovation system: sectoral, spatial and social variations
ii) Financial innovations for incubating innovations through linkage with investors, entrepreneurs and innovators
iii) Linking science, technology and innovation policies in formal and informal sectors
iv) Managing online and offline multi-media, multi-language platforms fostering open collaborative learning, design and dissemination
16.00 – 17.30 Discussion session B: incentives and institutions (four parallel sessions)
v) Engaging youth and professional experts/institutions for design, fabrication, validation and value addition
vi) Accessing biodiversity and associated knowledge systems and sharing benefits for sustainable conservation, utilisation and augmentation of biodiversity
vii) International negotiations about resources, knowledge, and intellectual property rights, tech transfers
viii) Portfolio of incentives, (monetary and non-monetary ) for individuals and communities to create public goods, disseminate ideas, besides adding to market mediated products and services
17.30 – 19.00 Innovation exhibition and interaction with the innovators
20.00 Traditional Food

Dec 8th, 2012
09.00 – 11.30 Plenary presentations of discussions from sessions A and B
12.00 – 13.00 Mobilising millions of young tech students to attack the persistent inertia in the region and the world: model
14.00 – 15.30 Drafting of Ahmedabad Declaration on GRIID building upon Tianjin Declaration (2007)
16.00 – 17.30 Panel discussion and agenda for future work, collaboration and advocacy
17.30 – 18.00 Summing up and departure

Tianjin Declaration for Promoting Green Grassroots Innovation for Harmonious Development

Building the bridge between formal and informal science at grassroots level will unfold hitherto unexplored opportunities for socio-economic development of common people excluded from economic growth processes around the world. Creativity and innovation at grassroots and dynamic traditional knowledge systems have in the past helped in solving many problems. But many have remained unsolved. The Honey Bee Network has facilitated over the last two decades people to people learning to learn from existing solutions and explore collaborative solutions to the problems not solved as yet. These grassroots innovations developed by common people, unaided from outside, can extend the frontiers of science in some cases and make new applications apparent which may have been ignored for long. The Honey Bee Network has also insisted that whenever any wealth is generated form value addition in local knowledge, innovations or practices or otherwise, fair share of benefits should accrue to the knowledge providers. It has thus advocated the need for acknowledging the contributions of grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders, protecting their knowledge rights, and ensuring their dignified participation in the global value chain for valorising their knowledge systems.
The solidarity among academic institutions, civil society organisations, national and international support organisations and eventually of the national governments around the issue of empowerment of grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders will unfold their entrepreneurial potential for improving their lives and conserving the environment. We have to ensure that grandchildren of our children today, that is at least hundred years hence, will be able to draw upon the knowledge and innovation traditions for solving problems of the future. We cannot allow traditional knowledge developed over centuries to erode and be lost forever. We cannot conserve the resources without conserving associated knowledge systems. Without incentives to valorise their knowledge, young people in our communities may not have incentives to conserve, experiment and innovate. The grassroots scientists and technologists have to be enabled to articulate their excellence, experimental and conservation ethics and educational pedagogies for achieving equitable, empathetic and efficient allocation of resources and opportunities in society. Incubation of grassroots innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge in a distributed, decentralised and social democratic manner provides an opportunity to address global concern for providing solutions to persistent social problems.
Participants of the International Conference on Global GIAN (Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network) from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, Canada and America met at Tianjin, May 31-2, 2007 to launch an online platform to recognize, respect and reward green grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders.
It was realised that many economies, which are growing faster than most parts of the world provide a valuable opportunity for generating market based avenues for social development. However, it was also recognised that the process of market led growth is not always inclusive and thus leaves many regions, people and sectors out of the purview of the development process. The Tianjin Declaration stresses that for pursuit of harmonious and balanced social and economic development, Green Grassroots Innovations and Traditional knowledge provide a very valuable opportunity. The cooperation between SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) and Tianjin University of Finance and Economics provides a model for international cooperation in support of building a value chain around grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge. India, China and Brazil have come together in this initiative to provide an online platform for incubating green grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge to protect knowledge rights of local communities and individuals, alleviate poverty, generate employment, reduce drudgery, and conserve the environment.
In order to operationalise the Global GIAN (Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network), the Tianjin declaration endorses the following recommendations:
a) To commemorate the international solidarity for harmonious and inclusive development through support to grassroots scientific, technological and institutional innovations and traditional knowledge, May 31st will be celebrated as Grassroots To Global ( g2G) day for recognising, respecting and rewarding creativity and innovation at grassroots all over the world.
b) To develop an international registry/bank of open source as well as proprietary grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge after taking Prior Informed Consent (PIC) of the knowledge providers so that communities and individuals struggling with similar problems around the world are able to access affordable solutions.
c) To invigorate the promotion of grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge, at least four kinds of gaps have to be filled: (i) creation of mechanisms at national and international levels to scout and document grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge in a national and international registry, and to give awards as well as to provide support for value addition through design and technological and product/service development, ii) provision of micro-venture capital investment to convert grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge into economic and social enterprises, iii) arrangements for diffusion of social technologies developed by grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge. It may help to create a global innovation commons so that relevant proprietary technologies developed by grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge holders are acquired for licensing these at no, or very low cost to small artisans and farmers, pastoralists and other producers around the world; and iv) enabling and empowering the grassroots innovators with modern tools of fabrication so as to enhance their capacity to do R and D and innovate through an international network of Fab Labs run and managed by grassroots innovators.
d) To pursue the creation of an international treaty to protect the rights of grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders around the world through new instruments, mechanisms and by blending the relevant features of existing IPR systems with lessons of the open source movement.
e) To persuade every national government to create a national body dedicated to scout and document, add value, provide risk capital, protect innovators’ rights and diffuse these green grassroots unaided solutions developed by people without any outside help through commercial as well as non-commercial channels. The Honey Bee Network will facilitate lateral learning among such national foundations so that the global pool of affordable green solutions to persistent social problems increases. Grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge should thus become part of the national innovation systems and global guidelines for this purpose should be appropriately modified.
f) Strengthening multi-language multi-media online incubation platforms for incubation of grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge launched at the conference to reduce the transaction costs of innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, designers, scientists and mentors from all around the world.
g) Need to make special efforts to highlight, recognise and reward the creativity and innovation of women. The science underlying the knowledge domains in which they excel should be brought within the purview of R and D studies and policies and not treated with lesser attention and respect as has been the tradition so far.
h) To persuade science and technology academies to have dedicated sessions in their annual research conferences to explore ways of engaging with local creative communities and individuals to humanise science and also empower knowledge rich, economically poor people.
The Tianjin Declaration resolves that the cause of grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders will be pursued to widen the real options of creative and innovative people at grassroots around the world. These people should not remain poor because they share their traditional knowledge and contemporary innovations generously with outsiders. Their spirit of sharing and community solidarity must be preserved and universalised through the blend between formal and informal knowledge systems, institutions and networks. We have to recognise that such people are not at the bottom of the innovation, ethical and value pyramid, even if many of them happen to be at the bottom of the economic pyramid. The tip of their creative iceberg has to be recognised, respected and rewarded through monetary and non-monetary incentives aimed at individuals and communities by also involving the youth in this global grassroots innovation movement so that future generations continue to care for each other and the environment and share their innovations with others generously.

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