Local communities across the developing world facing technological or institutional problems deal with them in different ways. Often, they simply learn to live with them. But sometimes they develop successful solutions, which work well but are not incorporated into institutional research programmes.

Anil Gupta, professor at the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad and founder of the Honey Bee Network, is visiting us at the STEPS Centre on March 29 to talk about the role of traditional knowledge and local innovations in transforming the agenda of globalisation in sustainable directions.

Gupta will talk about the gap between the world’s formal and informal knowledge production systems, and arrangements of formal scientific institutions and how local knowledge can help advance scientific studies.

The Honey Bee Network promotes people-to-people networking and represents the voice of creative grassroots innovators. Gupta’s research interests include the expansion of global as well as local space for grassroots innovators to ensure recognition, respect and reward; blending excellence in formal and informal science; protection of intellectual property rights; ethical issues in prospecting for and conservation of biodiversity; and creating a knowledge network at different levels for augmenting grassroots green innovations, ecological economics and the development of a multimedia – multi language database on innovations to overcome the barriers of language, literacy and localism.

Set up in 1989 by Anil Gupta of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Honey Bee has documented more than 10,000 rural innovations. To turn some of these ideas into commercial ventures, Gupta founded the Gujarat Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN) in 1997.

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a programme about the Honey Bee Network. Presenter Peter Day accompanied Gupta on a 120 mile trek through Uttar Pradesh on a Shodh Yatra (Journey of Discovery). Walking through difficult to get to parts of India with a group of inventors, herbalists, traditionalists and activists Gupta promotes sustainability and grass roots innovation.

Day has also written an article about the Honey Bee Network and among many others is this piece on SciDev.Net.

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