Grassroots Innovation for Societal and Environmental Transformation

Innovation usually means “dope Jetsons-type shit” in the minds of most.

So what is Grassroots Innovation?

There are a few definitions out there, but they all revolve around one concept:

  • Small in scale and regional in the application.
  • Not easily commercially viable through conventional methods.
  • Not reliant on scientific discoveries and principles.
  • Low cost and using extremely basic technology.
  • Self-generated, with no organization on a larger scale.

Examples of Grassroots Innovations

There are a few inspiring cases of grassroots innovations that have transformed the livelihoods of many individuals.

Why Most Grassroots Innovations aren’t spreading

What really triggers me is the fact that I can buy a poop emoji cushion with the click of the mouse but I can’t find a place to buy a dope fridge/water cooler that doesn’t use any electricity.

  • Lack of any systematic platform for communication between innovators, financial support, or research.
  • Disinterest by the scientific community because of the lack of documentation associated with these types of innovations. Less funding = less ability to spend time on documenting the technical specifics.
  • Inherently local nature of the products and creation.
  • Lack of inventor marketing skill and ambition to scale.

Solutions…?

So, how do we change this reality? No single policy, service, or maker-space is the solution. This is a systematic problem that needs systematic solutions. A couple of things that might be helpful:

  • The democratization and globalization of venture funding.
  • Government-sponsored contests similar XPrize in rapidly growing countries such as India, China, and Africa.
  • Widespread implementation of makerspaces, or spaces with resources where people can invent and explore ideas. Imagine how much people would be able to innovate on a small scale if makerspaces were as common as a library?

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Adam French

Adam French

Systems Social Impact + Web3 Economics + Personal Development & Spirituality. Any questions? Hit me up afrench@designunity.one