Outliers 36: Dr Anil Gupta on what entrepreneurs must learn from grassroots innovators

Pankaj Mishra September 29, 2017 1 min

Many of us on the internet might know Professor Anil Gupta from his Ted Talk. The work he does has far-reaching impact on grassroots innovation. Dr Gupta, a renowned scholar of grassroots innovations, founded Honeybee Networks many years ago with a simple mission: knowledge must benefit the people it comes from.

His grouse with academics, who would often get insights from “knowledge rich and economically poor” people but fail to acknowledge or design solutions that would circle back to the poor, became the bedrock on which Honeybee Networks was founded.

I first heard of Dr Gupta some ten years ago. I’ve been wanting to meet with him and talk about innovation for a long time now. Finally, it happened earlier this month.

In this podcast, recorded in Ahmedabad in peak Navratri season (sorry about the noise in the background), we talked about how grassroots innovators make do with less by reusing parts, designing products that are multifunctional and how some things don’t need to be scaled to be successful.