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SRISTI Summer School  has been organized for the last eight years to develop devices/solutions for addressing  the wicked problems or persistently unmet needs of disadvantaged and often neglected sections of society.  The focus is on developing open access, preferably DIY (do-it-yourself)  innovative solutions. It is understood that most solutions may remain at the level of proof of concept, prototype, and may not become a fully functional  product, processes, app, and/or service/system design in three to four weeks .  Honey Bee Network has pioneered the process of   scouting, spawning and sustaining innovations from grassroots. SRISTI and GIAN support now and NIF earlier supported these activities.

SRISTI has been engaged  with creative and innovative  farmers, artisans, women and men pastoralist etc., for the last 25 years.  Since 2009, SRISTI started to engage  with UG/PG technology students to support grassroots innovators and promote originality and innovation in general through Purpose also was  to develop solutions for grassroots but also  solving various social unmet needs and push the technological  frontiers for frugal solutions.

The Summer school on Inclusive Innovations was started eight years ago to create greater sensitivity among mainly technology and also social science students to identify the roots of social inertia in our society, and try to overcome it by innovative solutions. It is hoped that this sensitivity will not only ingrain among the tech youth a sense of

responsibility towards the less privileged communities and neglected natural resources but also challenge them to be more empathetic or samvedansheel so that their creativity/srijansheelta leads to a more fair and just society.


A palm leaf broom maker has to beat the leaves on a wooden plank mounted with nails to tear a leaf into fine fibers. The drudgery involved in this act drains much of the energy of women who generally do this task. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of tribals have to crack mahua nut to get the seed out for oil extraction. The construction workers carry brick on their heads straining their necks and spines. Women in Saurashtra and many other regions get hurt while harvesting the fruits from cactus-like opuntia growing on the field bunds. Amla harvesting in the forest often involves cutting branches rather than just harvesting the fruits. These and many other problems have been mobilized by the Honey Bee Network to challenge the young people to design solutions to get over the indifference or inertia of formal design and technology institutions.


Eventually, every institution in the country will have to take the responsibility of mapping the unmet social needs in their hinterland and address them through student projects and summer and winter schools. Like every initiative that Honey Bee Network has taken, it may take years before policy and institutional reforms follow. The structure of governance in any society cannot remain indifferent to the persistent problems of the disadvantaged people for too long.



1. Theme/Focus:

Students could focus on various design projects during summer school, for Eradication of Child

Labour, Drudgery of Women, and this time, keeping pandemic in mind, OSIIS: Open Source Inclusive Innovations for Saving Life.



2. Duration:

Any of the following:

  • 4 weeks or 1 month in summer breaks

  • Due to covid-19 constraints, we are organising Summer School 2021 online from 18th May 2021 to 7th June 201.

3. Module and Curriculum:

  • Designing the module with help from mentors and design experts.

  • Focus on co-creation, co-design and working with informal sector workers wherever feasible

   and be mentored by the faculty and also grassroots innovators


4. Location:

The workshop is needed especially for developing proof-of-concept models and prototypes. Due to covid-19 constraints, we are organising Summer School 2021 online.


5. Target Students and Selection:

  • Forty six students have been selected out of 343 applicants.



6. Selection procedure:

Invite entries from students to judge their interests, skills, and seriousness, etc. with a focus on understanding what students expect from the course/school. Evaluation will be done on the basis of the design assignments for social problems. Assignments should be judged on the basis of writing and expressing through visuals (doodling/sketching), animations, CAD models, etc. apart from the idea novelty, prior art research, number of ideas, and storytelling.


7. Announcement and Publicity:

The course can be announced in the local portals of the institutes. Summer school can be announced through various portals such as Honey Bee Network, SRISTI, NIF, Techpedia, etc., and other collaborators of the organizing institute and participating institutes. The announcement should preferably carry basic information such as date, time, venue (organizing institute), plan/brief, theme/focus, mentors, etc. With the announcements, participants/target student groups could be made aware of social responsibilities, grassroots innovations. How and what can be learned from the grassroots?





1. Social Responsibility and Grassroots: Setting up the context of summer school 

1.1 Learning from Grassroots/Children

Interaction with grassroots and grassroots innovators to inspire. Preferably, the innovator should be a different area than the summer school theme.  

1.2 Importance of co-creation/co-design

A session on the importance of designing and creating a solution with the user, who is going to use it. How to understand the process/system, which is being addressed/redesigned or intervened. This is one of the critical parts of summer school and might help in understanding and defining problems.

1.3 Involve users from start

Involving users from the start of the summer school is advised, that will make them comfortable with the participants and they might be able to understand how and why this particular exercise is being done. This is the very first step of co-creation/design.


2. Problem Identification

2.1 Identify unmet community needs (Field Visits)(1 or 2 Days)

Spend at least a day and a night (if possible) with the community. Discuss/speak/do their work with them, help them and try to learn their work. Involve community/people in summer school/course. A participant could go to a field visit with a community representative. Field visits should be planned after considering the target beneficiaries of the summer school. Why and where the particular community? How and what to do, observe and understand during field visits? What not to do? How to talk to people? People are the most important part, do not forget ethnographic details (names, occupation, education, etc.). Get involved with the community rather than observing from outside etc. Stay put there, work on system mapping, understand the missing link and get information on missing information.

Define: Define the system of the field, its entities, relations, sub-systems, etc. to understand the critical links. Map out the systems to understand why the particular problem and for whom? Finding the most critical link/issue is very important to make the biggest possible impact.

2.2 Analyse (1 or 2 Days)

Analyze the system/process and critical links/issues. Possible ways of solving problems and issues. Benchmark with existing solutions.

If something is missing or not clear, go back again to the community for a second field visit. Position the problem and prepare for 2nd field visit/survey (if needed).

Repeat Problem Identification steps after a 2nd field visit to refine further.

Present analysis and field visit observations to peers/mentors to get critical views.


3. Problem Definition

  • Define every detail of the problem

  • Including key/critical issues needed to be handled/addressed

  • Qualities/functionalities required

  • What kind of intervention is needed, such as (a) product/technology, (b) service, (c) systems, etc. or something else?

  • Define the parameters of the solutions

  • Discuss the problem definition with peers/experts/mentors and especially the community to see if you missed any point or misunderstood anything.^^ Don’t look for solutions yet. One should be thinking for solutions until the problem is defined.


4. Synthesis

Synthesis of a solution is an iterative process, need to focus on co-creation/co-design, involving the following steps:

4.1 Ideate/Ideation

Most critical and important step but stay foolish in this step because:

* No limitation on thinking and imagination

* No boundaries of finances, feasibility or possibility or reliability

* Involve the community in generating ideas/solutions

Generate ideas and solutions using design tools such as Brainstorming. Lateral Thinking, Artefactual, Analogic/Biomimicry, Heuristic and Gestalt Model of learning.

While ideation, one should restrict to only a few ideas and should not consider any limitations such as feasibility and finances, etc.

4.2 Idea Selection

Select ideas on the basis of parameters functionalities, qualities, etc. defined in problem definition. Arrange the ideas in order of preference, if one fails then which one to work on next. Most wild one, most feasible, most practical one, most economical one, etc.

4.3 Proof-of-Concept

Make proof-of-concept sketches, drawing, animations and mock-up models. Look for possible issues in the concepts. Plan for the prototype. Discuss with users/experts and take feedback to iterate this step.

4.4 Detailed Design

~1 Day / ~10 Hours (with experience of fabricators/practitioners and based on the rule of thumbs)

~3-4 Days / ~30-40 Hours (If going with engineering analysis)

The groundwork for prototyping.

Detailed drawings, CAD models, BOM (Bill of Materials) of the concepts.

Virtual testing including engineering analysis (if possible) to look for various issues such as interference, sizing, etc. Iterate the design on the basis of Engineering Analysis results, virtual tests and user feedback.

Create animations/renderings to discuss with users/experts and iterate this step.

4.5 Prototype

Prototype the product at college workshops or pre-identified fabricators or deploy pilot systems or services. Show prototype experts, mentors, peers. Let them use and find out possible issues/improvements. 

4.6 Test / Iterate

Testing is the first step towards moving in next stage i.e. iterations to improve and take it to the product level. Let the actual users test the prototype to understand possible issues and ways to resolve them. Take feedback and suggestions to improve it further.


5. Iteration

Depending on feedback, iterate the process at any steps. It could be from steps 4.5 and 4.6 or it could be 4.2 to 4.6 or Synthesis steps or go back to problem definition.


6. Productism

  • Bring product/service to the user/market

  • Design auxiliary system needed

  • Learn and evolve

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