Indigenous product development based on contextual innovation and link to market

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Boruah, Dipanka; Kakati, Vikramjit; Das, Amarendra Kumar
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India
Section: Design Education in Industry
Page(s): 252-257
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


There are large numbers of products locally innovated to suit particular context. However these are never available in the market in absence of their commercial manufacture that can be mutually beneficial to innovators and users and also to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This is attributed to lack of product design capability of most of the MSMEs that could have rendered required support for making the innovations commercially feasible and marketable products/ services. National Innovation Foundation (NIF) started functioning in March 2000 as India’s national initiative to strengthen the grassroots innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge. It has scouted, documented and put its efforts to bring grass root innovators innovations to market. As a measure to cover the entire country, National Innovation Foundation- North East (NIF-NE) is housed in Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG) as collaborative effort. Department of Design (DoD) at IITG has been supporting NIF’s effort by providing design inputs to make these innovations available to the people for social benefits and positive impacts.
Due to acute shortage of tea garden labourers, Tea planters’ associations and Tea Board have approached IITG for designing appropriate mechanized systems to solve the plucking problem, involving fewer labourers. NIF also had floated a national level competition for design of a manually operated tea plucking machine as a national challenge and socially relevant technological intervention. Design research involving research scholars from the Department of Design, was initiated as a response to solve the problem of tea plucking. Design of two tea plucking machine was carried out; one manually operated and the other electrically operated. Acceptances of these machines by the beneficiaries were studied.
Both have given very positive results and these works has established the vital contribution of design for bringing these innovations to market.

Keywords: Contextual innovation process, entrepreneurial, indigenous product development, design practice, design and technology transfer


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