Michigan Radio features Parthasarathy on fostering grassroots innovation in Michigan

May 10, 2016

Shobita Parthasarathy’s research on grassroots innovation in India is featured on this week’s “The Next Idea,” a Michigan Radio series dedicated to game-changing innovations and ideas. Listen here.

In “Fostering grassroots innovation: Lessons India can teach Michigan,” Parthasarathy describes India’s efforts to foster “low-tech, low cost, and small-scale technologies produced by those with limited formal education.”

India’s National Innovation Foundation, says Parthasarathy, identifies tens of thousands of grassroots innovations, assesses them “according to their potential to help the community, their environmental sustainability, and the feasibility of further development,” then assists a subset of inventors with development and dissemination.

“The ultimate goal of this work is to empower the innovative work of average citizens,” says Parthasarathy, “in order to encourage technological development that may be more useful to economically disadvantaged communities….”

Parthasarathy goes on to describe some of the lessons Michigan can learn from India’s efforts, including a deeper appreciation for grassroots innovation and makerspaces with a public interest orientation. 

Listen to Shobita Parthasarathy's interview on "The Next Idea." 

Shobita Parthasarathy is an associate professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on governance of transformative science and technology, both in the United States and abroad.