Social innovation is the new buzzword today. We as a global community have now realized that only a long term, solution focused approach will sustain our planet and communities for our future generations. Social Innovators are pioneers who are bringing about this change.
What is social innovation, though? The Centre for Social Innovation defines it as “the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new concepts and practices that put people and the planet first. Social Innovations resolve existing social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges. Some social innovations are systems-changing – they permanently alter the perceptions, behaviours, and structures that previously gave rise to these challenges. Even more simply, a social innovation is an idea that works for the public good.”
This latest blog from Desh Apnayen, a social innovator itself, brings to you social innovations that will take India into the next decade and benefit the world.
- A platform for scalable social change – Samhita Social Ventures
In 2014, our government made commendable changes to the Companies Act of 2013. With effect from April 1, 2014, every company, private limited or public limited, which either has a net worth of Rs 500 crore or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of Rs 5 crore, needs to spend at least 2% of its average net profit for the immediately preceding three financial years on corporate social responsibility activities.
Enter ‘Samhita’, an organization that provides a credible platform and thought leadership to enable NGOs, companies, donor agencies, individuals, philanthropists, foundations and researchers to achieve their specific goals and make informed decisions that translate into purposeful action and large-scale social impact. Founded by Priya Naik well ahead of it’s time in 2009, today Samhita has provides structured and professional services to enable companies, donors and NGOs to collaborate with each other and impact thousands of lives in India and enhance social good.
To know more about Samhita, visit their website.
- Giving voice to the deserving – Avaz
Ajit Narayanan is the inventor of Avaz, India’s first alternative communication device for children with disabilities. This device works by generating speech from limited muscle movements like that from the head or hand, and can be used people with speech disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, and aphasia. This engineer from IIT Chennai created a mobile based application in 2013 called FreeSpeech engine, a language independent device which uses images of objects, actions and even abstract words like ‘I’ or tenses to enable an autistic child to articulate. As a major mark of success, the The Indian government has licensed this program to use in some of its schools to teach English.
- No accidents, please!
Suraksha. Safety. What we want for our families, in our lives, in our homes. Gautam Kumar from Bhubaneshwar took this challenge head on and developed a system that detects leakage of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and sends warning messages to people connected with the device over their cell phones. He calls the device Suraksha. The device checks the amount of LPG in the air. If it reaches greater than or equal to seven parts per million (ppm), a buzzer or the SMS alerts, however, are set off. Simple and elegant, don’t you think?
- Lawfully yours
Sushant Sinha, another IIT Madras engineer is the man behind India’s ‘legal google’ called Indian Kanoon. Accorfing to Gyan Central, Indian Kanoon helps in breaking law documents into smallest possible clause and integrating law/statutes with court judgments. It helps people easily search for Indian laws and their interpretations. It is imperative for us to know the laws that govern us and hold the powers to affect our daily lives. Thanks to Sushant, we now can do this easily.
- Trash? Not so much!
Waste management in urban areas is an oft ignored problem. Meet these young changemakers Mumbai. In 2011, Pratik Agarwal and Raj Desai, both commerce graduares, started a tech company and have pioneered an invention that gobbles up one’s trash and dishes out free wifi. According to Better India, In 2013, they were setting up a network at the NH7 Weekender, which is the biggest festival for independent music in the country. “We wanted to do something crazy at the festival, something beyond the vanilla WiFi,” says Raj. So they started exploring the kind of problems faced at these festivals.
One major issue they found was that amidst the music, food, drinks, and all the fun, not many people were concerned about cleanliness. At the end of it all, the entire place was left looking like a large garbage dump.
To tackle this issue, they have invented a dustbin that gives you a free wifi code when you throw in garbage! This beautiful mix of hardware and software has people quieing up to throw trash for free wifi. Cool, isn’t it? Read more about this and watch a demo video on their Better India page here.
Desh Apnayen salutes these and many other Indian Social Innovators who are making lives better for us every day.