WHAT IS AASTIIK
Academy for Augmenting Sustainable Technological Inventions, Innovations, and Traditional Knowledge (AASTIIK) began as an independent programme in 2005. It aims at creating a virtual and real knowledge community of professionals and experts in the field of invention, innovation and traditional knowledge.
The idea has been discussed with serveral stake holders at National and International level and considerable progress is likely to be made in the coming years.
WHY AASTIIK ?
Honey Bee Network has provided a democratic, authentic and ethical platform for grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders from different parts of India and many other countries in the world for the last sixteen years. SRISTI provides a back up support. We are trying to set up an academy viz., AASTIIK (Academy for Augmenting Sustainable Technological Inventions, Innovations and Traditional Knowledge) to provide conceptual, institutional and on- line support to the distributed network of knowledge rich-economically poor innovators and traditional knowledge holders.
Despite all claims about participatory research and action, seldom have we provided opportunity to creative innovators and traditional knowledge holders to do research themselves as well as in partnership or by hiring formal researchers. This has not only obstructed the reflective learning among the innovators and TK holders but also has created an artificial and insular boundary between traditional and modern science. The heuristics of knowledge system, the trajectory of creative solutions employed by the grassroots innovators simply remains as a local story.
It does not go beyond the boundary of the village to inspire his cohorts from different disciplines. The social, cultural and institutional networks that have supported the growth of any particular kind of innovation or TK have still been unexplored. This has triggered the popular thinking that never appreciates the fact that technologies are like word where as institutions are grammars and culture is thesaurus. Unless this inter-linkage is not critically acknowledged, decentralized knowledge based enterprises will always remain a far cry.
The belief that it is the formal sector only that is only capable of innovations, both efforts and resources have been concentrated in the R & D of the formal sector. Genuine and cutting edge value addition is what the grassroots technologies need to prove the point that grassroots is the crucible of creativity. This cannot be done only with the help of professionals only. This mammoth task requires the creative energy of students, volunteers and even Innovation Insurgents (the young men from biodiversity rich insurgency areas). The Academy aims to empower creative people in directing their individual and collective quests for solving problems faced in every day life in firms, farms and households.
Objectives of AASTIIK
- To empower grassroots innovators and outstanding traditional knowledge holders to pursue action research about the heuristics used by creative people.
2. To identify the processes that strengthens the diffusion of certain innovations and inhibits that of others. Once the enabling factors are identified, the institutional arrangements will have to be designed and tailored to location and sector specific constraints.
3. To mobilize social capital accumulated by grassroots innovators for creating pressure for policy and institutional changes. The role of social networks embedded in the cultural beliefs and institutions in emergence and articulation of innovations has not been adequately studied. Long term societal changes are not possible without understanding such cultural processes and identifying room for manoeuvre in modifying these processes.
4. To develop a programme for mobilising young insurgents in tribal and other biodiversity rich regions for supporting the cause of creative and innovative people there. In several parts of the country well endowed in biological resources, the lack of economic and social development has led to large scale social unrest. Many of the insurgents are basically angry youth who have lost faith in the capacity of the system to respond to the valid and genuine aspirations of local communities. An Innovation Insurgents Programme will be initiated to mobilise the angry youth towards the cause of supporting creative and knowledge rich, economically poor people. The bio piracy and other kinds of exploitation of knowledge and resources in these regions are unlikely to stop without active, non-violent, peaceful social networks of youth.
5. To develop a distributed mentoring system at a portal (indiainnovates.com) to provide active incubation support to the grassroots innovators in close linkage with NIF, GIAN and Honey Bee Network collaborators.
6. To develop case studies of evolution, erosion and/or assimilation of knowledge and wisdom of creative people in everyday life support structures.
7. To lobby for the emergence of an international intellectual property rights protection regime for traditional knowledge as well as for grassroots innovators at affordable transaction costs
8. To publish studies in different languages authored by grassroots innovators and formally trained scientists about the local knowledge systems providing material for adult as well as young curious creative learners.
9. To facilitate local, regional, and national thematic, regional and cross-sectoral meetings of the innovators to develop their own self-governing systems to transform social customs, institutions and culture to provide greater space for green innovations.
10. To develop various models of material and non-material incentives for rewarding, respecting and recognising the creativity at grassroots.
CURRENT RESEARCH FOCUS
AASTIIK would provide the real and virtual platform to the innovators, academicians and scholars for presenting, harnessing and upgrading their knowledge pertaining to innovation, creativity, heuristics of traditional knowledge etc. In the subsequent years, it will invite fellows from around the world and offer them rigorous but congenial academic environment for growth of ideas, innovations and institutions.
In fact, several advisory committee members have agreed to take up studies on such areas as incubation experiences, traditional knowledge systems, knowledge systems of women centurions, interface between natural, social, ethical and intellectual capital and its bearing on the innovation and its intellectual property rights protection,
development of the international registry, evolution of prior informed consent framework, linkage between formal and informal science, bioethics and entrepreneurship, etc. The fellows will have access to the Honey Bee Network database and take up detailed studies of the knowledge network, innovation process, relationship between resource rights and knowledge rights, ways of protecting intellectual property rights, ethical issues in research with local communities, etc.
The academy will develop a full fledged research programme incorporating the proposals of existing fellows and also the new fellows. In future, proposals will be sent to select members depending upon their specialization. Several studies have been proposed by the members of the advisory committee and detailed sub-contracting arrangements are being developed.
International partners will be actively involved in various research programmes in terms of interaction with academic and research institutions for developing unique structure of academy, setting up expert committee, documentation of case studies of similarly focused academies and knowledge institutions, organising seminar/workshops, forging partnerships, formation and launch of academy programmes.