Just An hour a week; opening the doors for an innovator


I am just returning form  talks  meeting of alumni of  all the IIMS  viz., IIMIMPACT held at Singapore. One of the question most of the alumni asked was ”how can they join the Honey Bee Network (HBN), how can they contribute to  the inclusive innovation ecosystem, what is the role that an expert, who is otherwise very busy can play remotely etc.

Let me try to answer these questions for many more with in India who have the similar concern particularly when I go for lectures at large corporations which want to learn from frugal innovation ecosystem. Incidentally, MNCs are more keen to learn from grassroots than Indian companies, exceptions apart. May be the shoe s is not pinching them enough yet. I don’t really wish that to happen, but writing is on wall.

Firstly, for joining the HBN, one does not have to fill any form. It is basically a contract between oneself and one’s conscience. The ethical principle that one cannot enrich oneself without first enriching the knowledge rich-economically poor people is a difficult one to follow for many. But it works for many more. The very fact that more than  800 patents filed by National Innovation Foundation ( NIF) in the name of the innovators ( children, farmers, artisans etc.,)and value addition by hundreds of scientists in public and private sector  are done by various firms are done at a very low cost proves that social and ethical capital can convert into financial capital savings for the HBN movement. If market actors can do it, why cannot you, is an obvious question everybody has to answer for oneself.

Shri  Pranab MuKherjee, President of India exhorted the bankers at Financing of innovation roundtable at Festival of Innovation (FOIN) organised in collaboration with NIF at Rashtrapati Bhavan , that they could open more doors in one hour for grassroots innovators and young tech students than what they would be able to do in many years. This is one thing that any one and everyone who wishes to work with HBN can do for grassroots innovators, tech students, children and even individual professionals etc. the volunteers can connect innovators with experts, designers, IT experts, fabricators, testing facilities, policy makers, help in adding value, creating a business plan, freezing the specs of version of prototype, or even invest or co-invest  small amounts. For5 example BIRAC (Biotechnology Innovation Research Assistance Council), a not for profit company for which I had written the concept note, is the only body in the entire government of India which invests even at an idea stage for a student or professional.  There is no other window at all in any other sector, despite all the discussion we have had in this regard, except NIF of course. How do we then open the doors?

Each individual professional has an unique social and ethical capital bank developed out of the help extended to people at different stages of life, good will earned, excellence achieved in respective field/domains and so on. After a particular stage in life, one cannot buy too many more things with additional income. What do we do then? More conspicuous consumption? Some of it just ostentatious? Parties in big hotels, spending huge money in marriages or social function and so on.

No, one needs a purpose at that stage. Remember, purpose and passion is not enough. One also needs an ethical process and platform to achieve extraordinary or even an above average  ordinary performance in this space.

Write to me, share your concerns, pains, dilemma and the challenges you face in life at this stage. Some of you wish to have fame, some name, some a feeling of having done anonymous good. Some regret not having paid heed to their own creative ideas. They want to atone for having killed their own beautiful ideas even before they were born. They have aborted them.

Here is a chance, join hands with large number of authentic social movements, initiatives which resonate with you. There were so many pioneering ideas discussed at IIMIMPACT; how to help children subjected to sexual abuse (wearechildren.org)? How to help industrial workers affected by accidents at workplace but not cared enough by the employers ( saf- in-India); assistance in sports if one is not good in studies ( bhagta bharat), and so on.

If you still have more questions or energy left, write to me. Charge your batteries in Honey Bee Network; discharge them in your sometimes boring jobs. I am waiting to hear from you. You can help social, educational, cultural, and economic  start-ups in rural or urban areas. Waiting for your mail.


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