Sunday, August 5, 2012

CfPs: International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots (ICCIG 2012), TUFE, China & IIM Ahmedabad India

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

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:

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