UNDP Accelerator Lab India Launches GrassRoot Innovation Database (GRID) to Foster Inclusive Development at the Community Level

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New Delhi, November 27, 2020: UNDP Accelerator Lab India launched the first-of-its-kind Grassroot Innovation Database (GRID) to foster inclusive development. It contains 1,500 solutions, ranging from simple to complex in design, which can be implemented at the community level. These innovative solutions have been developed by grass-root communities, individuals, start-ups, students and other innovators from various states across India.

The unique database caters to various sectors which include livelihood, natural resource management, agriculture, agro-biodiversity, pest management, water management, farm machinery, biodiversity conservation, augmentation, inclusive growth, waste management, circular economy amongst others.GRID has been co-created for public use by GIAN [Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network], Honey Bee Network Institution and UNDP- Accelerator Lab-India. It can be accessed at grid.undp.org.in

At the macro level, GRID demonstrates to the policymakers that there is potential to learn from creative communities and individuals at the micro-level, as this encompasses solutions that can be implemented on ground in real-time, complemented by the fact that being tried and tested the cost of failure is minimal. GRID can also be leveraged for setting up distributed enterprises and for catering to the local or niche markets. Some of the innovations may be taken up for pilot experimentation in the next phase by the team, while GIAN has already tested many of them through on-field trials.

Speaking on the Grassroot Innovation Database launch, the UNDP Accelerator Lab team said, “We believe that if an individual with little or no resources can solve an issue through strategic innovation, why cannot we, as an organisation with the necessary prowess, address it in a manner that helps to scale it up and take it to wider groups of communities. Grass Root Innovation Database will encourage inclusive development, which has become all the more critical in the COVID era.”

Guest of Honour, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India said, “Development in the current context needs to shift from quantitative to qualitative. The vulnerable section of the society needs to be provided with quality education, food, health facilities and an environment which has equal opportunities for all.  Expertise from grass-root innovators can foster inclusivity in this form of development. The need of the hour is to address complex developmental goals through the three pillars -policy, regulation and sandboxes to create the right impact on the community at large.”

Prof Anil Gupta, Founder of GIAN shared, “Our objective is to give voice, visibility and velocity to the creative and innovative communities and improve their livelihood, conservation of biodiversity and associated knowledge system for inclusive development. A lot of practices in GRID are in a DIY mode which can be used by people freely: the grid reaches the poorest with the possibility of using knowledge about innovations for augmenting their well-being.”

In India, the UNDP Accelerator Lab has been engaged in ground-breaking work on developmental innovations since its very launch, last year. From using Geospatial technology, Artificial Intelligence and Mobile technology to target hotspots of air pollution from space to leveraging Blockchain for agricultural value chains and IoT for water conservation in agriculture, there are many. The Lab also conducted an innovation challenge in December 2019 to seek for the best technological innovations towards air pollution mitigation in India. Similarly, as part of its COVID-19 response strategy, the India Accelerator Lab designed and delivered an innovative game: ‘Corona Champion’ under a pro-bono partnership with IPE Global. The game was designed to bust myths and spread awareness related to COVID-19 while offering an immersive experience to the users.

UNDP Accelerator Lab marks its immensely successful one year in India this month. To observe this momentous occasion, the organization hosted a multi-stakeholder ‘Round Table Discussion on Investments for Innovation’. It was aimed at bringing important perspectives on accelerating innovations through strategic investments. The deliberations from the roundtable are anticipated to provide valuable insights for UNDP in designing future programmes and interventions for promoting innovations to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prominent panellists included Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation; Dr Vijaya Raghavan, Chairman  & CEO, Sathguru Management Consultants; Purushottam Kaushik, Head, World Economic Forum (WEF) – Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution; Dr Debapriya Dutta, Adviser & Head, SEED Division, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; Srikanth Prabhu, Investment Director, Social Alpha; Sakina Baker, Head, CSR, Indian Subcontinent, Philips; Prof Ajit Rangnekar, Director General, Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH); Dr Srivalli Krishnan, Senior Programme Officer, Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Shweta Khurana, Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, Intel.