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Grass roots innovation

There is a hindi word  ‘Jugaad’ which is very applicable to many social innovations. The words literal meaning is innovation particularly innovation from very little resources. The word has started to get some interest in the West, but has been applied in India to social innovations. Out of interest, the word is also a slang term for the cars and trucks that one can see on the Indian subcontinent that are made up from parts appropriated from several vehicles.

Professor Anil Gupta of the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions tracks such social innovations through his Honey Bee Network, which ‘carries stories of  local ingenuity’ and in doing so acknowledges the local provider of the solution. These knowledge providers include innovators, farmers, scholars, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The network now has a presence in seventy five countries and counting. At a time when many social entrepreneurs are cash-strapped, it is worth taking a moment to look at how innovative solutions to social problems are progressed in other countries. As the saying goes, it is alright to steal once you steal from the best.

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