Breakout Two: Reimagining Rural Innovation

This session was moderated by Divya Datta from the Center for Knowledge Societies. It discussed ways in which participatory approaches to innovation in the rural context could be most effective. While there are some examples of innovations in the various sectors such as education, toilets and sanitation, and healthcare, including some projects that CKS itself has undertaken, there remains a lot to still be done. Given that all these grand social challenges are interlinked in different ways, the only means to achieving substantial positive change would be to look at these as a single network with many different arms. When viewing a community as well as all its problems as an organic whole, it becomes apparent that there is a need for the solution to be derived from the same perspective. Thus, only with the collaboration and coordination between all the different arms, or estates, or segments of a society can we hope for these problems to be overcome.

The participants at the breakout then focused on how to create this kind of a collaborative platform for various stakeholders – from the citizens to the government, corporations, civil society organizations, bureaucrats, legislators and law enforcers and much more – to dialogue and exchange ideas and create new ways of working together and aligning their goals.

The session focused on the Bihar Innovation Lab as a basic model which could then be extrapolated and grown to also address other social innovation in addition to healthcare. A lot of participants pushed the idea of introducing the idea of an incubator within the framework of the innovation lab. This would enable a lot of grassroots innovations to be realized, scaled and made more effective.

This group also focused on the areas in which rural transformation (not Development) is required. Several answers to this question were voiced, including the empowerment of women, improving access in terms of roads and transport systems, education, inclusiveness and transparency.

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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