Inauguration of the Bihar Innovation Lab

We are proud to announce that we have officially launched the Bihar Innovation Lab (BIL), a project that we have been working tirelessly to realize ever since the idea was first born at the maiden Design Public Conclave in Delhi last year. We talked then about this revolutionary concept, of a lab that could change the face of healthcare and rural innovation in Bihar, and now little over a year later, are very pleased to announce that this collaborative initiative between the State Government of Bihar, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Center for Knowledge Societies has been realized.

The Bihar Innovation Lab is a novel Public Private Partnership model for rural innovation based on design collaboration. It will be the first designated environment in India entrusted with the task of design led rural innovation, to drive new products and better service delivery mechanisms and to demonstrate how the quality of service is improved using design.

Sanjay Kumar, IAS, Health Secretary and Executive Director of the State Health Society, inaugurated the Bihar Innovation Lab, and shared his vision of the Lab, “Over the last two years, through the Gates Foundation, we have had the opportunity to interact with the Center for Knowledge Societies and do some exceptional work in understanding and envisioning healthcare services in Bihar – some of the examples of this is the “34 Ways of Saving Lives in Bihar” and the Integrated Vaccine Services Delivery Kit. To leverage the impact that continuous innovation can have on the quality of healthcare services, we came up with the concept of the Bihar Innovation Lab. We want Bihar to set a benchmark for other states with this kind of a collaborative model of innovation for public interest and development.”

The Lab will enable collaboration amongst various partners of the Foundation such as (but not limited to) Care, BBC World Services Trust, World Health Partners and CKS, and collaboratively discover latent innovation opportunities aimed at improving the quality of healthcare services. The Lab will also offer innovation training, by planning and hosting knowledge sharing seminars and capacity training with Partners and the Government Staff so as to accelerate the spreading of innovation techniques.

“Over the years Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has developed an understanding that health innovations around the world cannot come through without Impatient Optimism, and this is the best way to achieve this kind of work we hope to accomplish. We, along with the Government of Bihar, have a larger vision for a healthier and more developed Bihar,” said Mr. Ashok Alexander, Director of Avahan, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Aditya Dev Sood, expressing his excitement for this venture, said, “The Bihar Innovation Lab is an attempt to use the expertise of the private sector in making Government smarter and more capable of identifying and solving problems on its own. This Lab will focus not on fundamental science and technology research but rather use ethnography, design thinking and user experience modeling to create new and more effective ways of delivering services.”

Anant Shah, Program Officer, Vaccine Delivery Global Health Program at the Foundation, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Lab since it was first conceptualized, expressed his regret for not being present at the launch, but sent a message: “There is limited and inconsistent focus on users to drive innovation and solution design and inadequate coordination across stakeholders and customers. The Bihar Innovation Lab will institutionalize and promote culture of innovation for development that is research based and is user-centric and improve coordination across stakeholders and customers, namely users and government.”

Over the coming months, we will be busy preparing the Lab, and look forward to sharing more stories about rural innovation in healthcare and other sectors once it is fully operational.

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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4 Responses to Inauguration of the Bihar Innovation Lab


    This is a great initiative Sir.
    I would also like to be a part of this project

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