Improv Innovation - for a Sustainable Future

Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Vaibhav Chhabra, Megha Gupta, G K Rao

Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Vaibhav Chhabra, Megha Gupta, Guruprasad Rao

When the Bhuj earthquake of 2001 hit, thousands of people in Gujarat lost everything they had. However, Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a young entrepreneur, was still hopeful and motivated. Despite the scarcity of resources, his innovative thinking led to a novel product: a low-cost clay refrigerator which required no electricity and kept food fresh for up to 5 days.

By applying knowledge in new ways to production processes, better and previously unavailable products can be produced with the same or fewer inputs to meet the needs of all sections of Indian society. Frugal Innovation is one such approach to entrepreneurship that could enable India to become economically inclusive. It allows for distributed manufacturing, as opposed to resource-intensive production techniques, and could make consumption sustainable: socio-economically and environmentally.  According to Navi Rajdou, the Maker Movement in India, which hopes to enable consumers to become ‘prosumers’, has made notable contributions to this new phenomenon which is capturing the imagination of Indian innovators.

India received policy support for innovation in the form of NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission, a step towards promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among students by providing a platform for world-class experimentation hubs. The National Innovation Council was also set up by the Central Government and 2010-2020 were announced as the ‘Decade of Innovation’.

Join us for a discussion with Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu, authors of Do Better With Less: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth along with Vaibhav Chhabra, Founder, Maker’s Asylum, Megha Gupta, Founder,, and Guruprasad Rao, Director and Mentor, Imaginarium India Pvt. Ltd. as they discuss frugal innovation, innovation for sustainability and how innovation can help make the Indian economy inclusive.

Navi Radjou

Navi Radjou is a Silicon Valley-based innovation and leadership thinker and Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School. In 2013, Navi won the prestigious Thinkers50 Innovation Award – given to a management thinker re-shaping how we think about and practice innovation. His TED talk on frugal innovation has over 1.7 million views. Navi co-authored two global bestsellers: Jugaad Innovation and From Smart To Wise. His latest book is Do Better With Less: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth. Born in Pondicherry, he holds dual French-American citizenship. He attended Ecole Centrale Paris and Yale School of Management.

Jaideep Prabhu

Jaideep Prabhu is Professor of Marketing and Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He has a B. Tech from IIT Delhi and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He has consulted for or taught executives from Bertelsmann, Barclays, BP, GE, IBM, Nokia, Philips, Shell, Siemens, Vodafone, and Xerox, among others. He is a co-author of the global business bestseller Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth, and the latest being Do Better With Less: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth.

Vaibhav Chhabra

Vaibhav Chhabra is a mechanical engineer by education but a carpenter by passion. A graduate from Boston University, Vaibhav spent the first 2 years of his career at EyeNetra, a startup from MIT Media Labs. Vaibhav founded ‘Makers Asylum’, which is a community space focussed on nurturing innovation through hands-on learning, particularly to foster education in areas of sustainability and disability. The flagship program of Maker’s Asylum, STEAM school brings together 150 global participants that solve and prototype for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He is also the Chair for innovation and entrepreneurship at Young Indians – CII and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum.

Megha Gupta

Megha Gupta is a journalist-turned-urbanologist and founder of which is a for-profit initiative aimed at making the skills of the squatter settlement more accessible to the middle/upper classes while providing the local, skilled craftsmen and artisans direct access to local and global markets. It aims at providing, world-class, quality goods at reasonable prices as one would directly buy from the manufacturers while giving the craftsmen a price worth their craft and effort. She studied journalism in Mumbai and then pursued MA in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Sheffield.

G K Rao

Guruprasad Rao is the Director & Mentor-Leadership Team at Imaginarium India Pvt. Ltd., Asia’s largest 3D printing company. His current focus is on building Imaginarium Academy, Technology Partnerships. Rao is a technocrat with 30 years of experience encompassing Industry & Academia. He holds BE (Mech) with PG in Tool Engineering from GTTC and M. Des in Product Design from IISc, Bengaluru. He is currently concluding his research at IIT Bombay and Medical Law from NLSIU, Bangalore.


Venue partner:

Ministry of New


Event Details

Thu 11 Apr 2019
6:30 - 7:45 p.m.

Ministry of New

3rd floor, Kitab Mahal, 192, Dadabhai Naoroji road, Fort, Mumbai - 400001

Add to Calendar 20190411T130000 20190411T141500 UTC Asia Society: Improv Innovation - for a Sustainable Future Ministry of New 3rd floor, Kitab Mahal, 192, Dadabhai Naoroji road, Fort, Mumbai - 400001