The world’s best-known technology school wants to learn from India’s innovators. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s business school plans to understand from India’s grassroots innovators how to make affordable, multi-functionary products sometimes using complex technology without compromising on efficiency.
A team comprising students and faculty of MIT Sloan School of Management was in Ahmedabad on Sunday to meet two grassroots innovators — Mansukhbhai Prajapati from Rajkot and Dharma Veer Kamboj from Haryana — to learn about frugality and creating products useful to the society. They also shared their perspective on innovations at MIT with the participants of Creativity, Innovation, knowledge, Network and Entrepreneurship course at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
The team also explored opportunities of jointly developing ideas. “MIT, IIM-A and Honey Bee Network are keen to find a common ground to develop unique ideas,” said Anil Gupta, professor at IIM-A and founder of Honey Bee Network. The innovators can also seek assistance from MIT on technology matters, said Gupta.
The group of students was led by faculty members Robert Stoner, who is the associate director of the MIT Energy Initiative at MIT, and Charles Fine, faculty and co-director of the International Motor Vehicle Program at MIT Sloan. The team also included students of a new program at MIT started to develop frugal design for Indian needs. This program is led by Sanjay Sarma, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.
Both Prajapati and Kamboj are associated with the Honey Bee Network. While Prajapati has created userfriendly products out of clay and holds a patent for a refrigerator made out of traditional clay, Kamboj has developed a multipurpose food processing machine that facilitates on-farm processing or herbs, flowers and fruits.
“The team spent about three hours with the innovators to understand how these innovators have developed simple products, which are low cost and easy maintenance, using complex technology. The meeting was webcast across some IIMs in order to have a wider community of stakeholders,” said Gupta. (The Times of India)