Improv Innovation - For a Sustainable Future

Improv Innovation - For a Sustainable Future

From L-R Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Megha Gupta, Vaibhav Chhabra and Guruprasad Rao

MUMBAI: On April 11, 2019, Asia Society India Centre hosted Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu, authors of Do Better With Less: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth, Vaibhav Chhabra, Founder, Maker’s Asylum, Megha Gupta, Founder,, and Guruprasad Rao, Director and Mentor, Imaginarium India Pvt. Ltd for a discussion on frugal innovation, innovation for sustainability and how these practices can help make the Indian economy stronger and more inclusive.

The programme began with Radjou briefly introducing the subject and talking about his research on frugal innovation and the circular economy. He stressed on the importance of the SDGs and India’s role in helping the world achieve them, as more than 50 per cent of contributions to the SDGs will need to come from India in the next decade. He later went on to introduce his co-panellists – Gupta, Chhabra and Rao, as ‘meta-innovators’ (individuals who help other innovators to build their products and provide the platform to bring their innovation to scale.)

Gupta commenced the discussion by talking about her own venture which provides an online platform to local craftsmen in Dharavi to exhibit their products to a global audience. While she and her team had to put together the online resources for developing the website, the production processes were easier to manage as the entire value chain was already in place within the local community. Chhabra spoke at length about the need for creating a space for makers where they have the opportunity to explore the practical designs of their ideas. At the Makers Asylum in Andheri, innovators are welcome to work on design thinking, frugal innovation and digital fabrication. The space enables them to build test versions of their products by providing them with access to a variety of industrial equipment and a creator-friendly environment. While speaking about Imaginarium’s Innovation Lab, Rao said that informal learning from peers usually works better for young creators than classroom education, specifically in the case of understanding practical processes such as manufacturing and 3D printing. Prabhu later elaborated on the recent emerging trends in innovation which included frugality, the sharing economy and the rise of prosumers – consumers who are invested in the manufacturing process and actively seek information about the sourcing of the product. He also spoke of the rising interest in physical innovation which focused on finding creative solutions to pressing social issues across the world.

The discussion was followed by an engaging Q&A session where the panelists fielded some interesting questions from the audience. 

Watch the complete programme here:

As reported by Deepashree Mahajan, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre.

In partnership with:

Ministry of New