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A Wealth of Knowledge in Poor Communities

February 17, 2010

Anil Gupta backed by the signature brick of the Louis Kahn–designed Indian Institute of Management campus in Ahmedabad. Photos: Meena Kadri via Design Observer

Indian management expert and professor Anil Gupta scouts for knowledge in poor rural communities and turns it into real products and sustainable enterprises. He has founded several programs such as the  Honey Bee Network which nurtures and cross-pollinate grassroots knowledge, creativity and innovation, and more recently the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) which provides an assessment procedure and database of grassroots technological innovations. Here’s a look at some of that rich knowledge put into practice.

“I prefer to see the poor as a provider than a market — with their limited material resources driving knowledge-intensive, informal innovation. Through providing incubation and development support, patent and intellectual-property-rights assistance, marketing advice and microventure funding, we seek to support the creativity that already exists at the grassroots.”

Read the entire interview at Design Observer

Mitti Cool cookware and refrigerator by Mansukhbhai Prajapati, from Gujarat
Gas-powered iron by K Linga Brahman, from Andra Pradesh

Pressure-cooker coffee maker by Mohammed Rozadeen, from Bihar

The pedal-powered washing machine featured in the Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots was inspired by the invention of 20-year-old Remya Jose from Kerala. It was also featured on the Discovery Channel.

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