Children innovators and researchers: a new paradigm in design thinking & doing (DTD)


Jerky ride on an uneven bumpy road will unnerve anyone. But if a patient on a stretcher has to be carried in an ambulance on such away, will that patient not be inconvenienced even more? This question might not bother is, the grown up because we have learned to live with inertia and inconvenience for decades and centuries. Fortunately, in a changing India, Children are not as patient. Hema Pradahan was one such impatient student we met during a shodhyatra in Sikkim with IIMA students. We could meet such students in roadside meetings, thanks to the support by Tshering Lepcha, village paradhan from LUM, and Sonam, SDM and both are volunteers of Honey Bee Network for over a decade. What did Hema suggest: why can we have a shock-absorbing stretcher for travelling in ambulance on such bumpy roads. This is not a problem just of Sikkim but many parts of the country. Hema’s solution will help transportation of patients in ambilance world over. SRISTI sent this idea along with more than 20, 000 ideas from Haryana, Sikkim, Andmans islands, Odisha, kutchh, Gujarat, Gurej, Jammu and Kashmir  etc.,  to National Innovation foundation which received around 90,000 ideas. I am happy to mention that Hema, government school, Tashiding, West Sikkim, has been chosen as one of 32 winners of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ignite award for creative children, Honourable former President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will give away the award on Nov 17, 2018 at Grambharati, Amrapur after an open public lecture at IIMA on 215pm.

Hema is obviously not the only one concerned about the social unmet needs. There are thousands of such children all over the country, particularly in disadvantaged government schools. This time, NIF will also recognise four children, Supriya, Lina, Purba, and Rahul from a school of visually challenged in Odisha and one from West Bengal for suggesting a braille tactile signage in public buildings (not altogether a new idea though a worthy one never the less), and a navigation system in neighbourhood for enabling such people to meet nearby friends or to a shop or dispensary.

Tsering Omphel, Leh, Govt. Higher Secondary School, Jammu and Kashmir is impatient with deep seated inertia in our society. Despite millions of rupees spent every year by the government, we have not developed a sea buck thorn harvesting device. Indrajeet Singh, west Singhbhum, Jharkhand has rightly felt the need for a Low cost portable Chironji decorticator.

There are many other good ideas that will be showcased by NIF on Nov 17 afternoon (contact Dr Vipin Kumar, for more information about particiation). Do bring your children to see and observe how the creative children can overcome inertia that has become so characteristic of elites of our society.

Sooner or later, I am sure educational policy of our country will change. But till then, the teachers and principals of various schools can do a few things on their own. One doesn’t not need permission of education minister or secretary of school education to do this. Just share with them ideas of other children ( and, ask them to search for new ideas around their neighborhoods. Celebrate innovations by inviting innovators to class, and sense or scout unmet social needs of nature, elders, women, children and special need members of our society. Thus honey bee network innovation clubs can be set up in each school. Today I tried to persuade faculty and students in one of the top of design institute of China in Nanjing University of Arts and Design to do likewise. From my past experience, I will not be surprised if China catches up on this idea faster than our own country. Ghar ka jogji, jogna….  May you brighten your Diwali with creative and compassionate idea of the children.



Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place