Leveraging bionanotechnology for sustainable and inclusive growth: New CFI publication

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The Center for Frugal Innovation has published a new report on prospects of Indo-German collaboration in ensuring affordable healthcare with the help of bionanotechnology, also known as nanobiotechnology or nanomedicine, depending on the context. The report with the title “Leveraging bionanotechnology for sustainable and inclusive growth : prospects for Indo-German collaboration in ensuring affordable healthcare” has been prepared by Dr. Sadhana Tiwari and Prof. Dr. Rajnish Tiwari, and published by the Consulate General of India, Hamburg.

Abstract of the report

The field of bionanotechnology, sometime also referred to as nanobiotechnology, has emerged from the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology. Today, it constitutes one of the fastest growing research fields due to its enormous potential. A particularly promising area of application for bionanotechnology is Life Sciences or Healthcare, where nanomedicine can help with advance diagnostics and targeted, patient-specific treatment in an effective and speedy manner while reducing the use of resources. Thus, bionanotechnology shows high compatibility with principles of “affordable excellence” that lie at the roots of the modern concept of frugal innovation.

India and Germany both have made substantial progress in this field and many research institutions, universities, startups and established enterprises are active stakeholders of this industry, along with government bodies. Biomaterials, biosensors, functional systems, drug transport/targeting and implants are the five most active technology fields in Germany’s nanobiotechnology sector, while a strong focus can be observed in the application areas of diagnostics, medical devices, therapeutics and regenerative medicine within the Health/Pharma sector. These areas coincide with India’s thrust areas of research that is, however, still largely concentrated in research institutions. A bilateral cooperation between India and Germany can be highly rewarding as it can use complementary strengths of the respective ecosystems and help each other in overcoming their weaknesses, e.g. in ensuring translational research, developing common regulatory/safety standards, better utilization of resources & infrastructure, and creation of cutting-edge knowledge through joint research and exchange programs for researchers, scientists, students and entrepreneurs to intensify interaction.

The study suggests a three-pronged approach for a bilateral cooperation: (a) identify promising avenues of cooperation, (b) pool resources, and (c) develop frugal solutions that have high chances of diffusion across the globe. The potential market-size and the lead market function of India in the field of frugal innovations can help the solutions that are developed in bilateral (or eventually multilateral) cooperation achieve faster commercial success while raising standards of living for all potential beneficiaries of the scientific progress, across the globe. This would make a very valuable contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3 related to “Good Health and Well-being”.

About the authors

Dr. Sadhana Tiwari is a postdoctoral scientist at the Institute for Nanostructure and Solid State Physics of the University of Hamburg. She specializes in conceptualization of “affordable excellence” targeted at societal development by reducing total cost of ownership, minimizing use of natural resources and enhancing quality. She was awarded a joint PhD degree by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B, Mumbai, India) and the Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) for her research in the area of Bionanotechnology. Before choosing a research path, she studied Biotechnology and Nanotechnology earning MSc and MTech degrees from G.J. University of Science and Technology, Haryana. Her specialization is in the development of biosensors. She collaborates with the Center for Frugal Innovation of the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in her research on affordable biosensors.

Prof. Dr. habil. Rajnish Tiwari is professor for Business Administration and Global Innovation in the faculty onlineplus (OLP) of the Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences at its Hamburg Campus. He has co-founded the Center for Frugal Innovation at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) of Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and is a member of its Board of Management. He has acted as an Adjunct Faculty at Manipal Institute of Technology in India and has advised Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a member of the Advisory Circle for its Innovation and Technology Analysis program (2014-17) with a special focus on “New Global Innovation Pathways”. Dr. Tiwari is a co-initiator and co-organizer of the series of (biannual) India Weeks in Hamburg. He also heads the Hamburg chapter of German-Indian Round Table (GIRT), dedicated to promoting the bilateral economic relations.

About the study

Publication of this report was financially supported by the Economic Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11420/12580
DOI: 10.15480/882.4326

Opportunities of Frugality in the Post-Corona Era

A discussion paper by Cornelius Herstatt and Rajnish Tiwari on the opportunities of frugality-based approaches in the post-Corona era: How frugal innovations can help achieve “affordable green excellence” in a world that could do with more effective use of resources. They argue that the concept of “affordability” has to be considered more comprehensively and in a multidimensional perspective – not just financially, but also socially, infrastructurally and ecologically.

[Download discussion paper]

The world is undergoing a major societal upheaval. Probably for the first time in the human history large parts of economic activity have come to a standstill simultaneously in almost all parts of the world – affecting the economically advanced nations as much as the developing countries. The “lockdown”, a term not known by many prior to the Corona pandemic of 2020, has meant that populations have been (in some cases literally) forced to stay back at home, cut down on their social contacts due to fear of a community transmission of the COVID19 virus, and as a result international and even domestic and local travel has largely come to a halt.

SARS-CoV-2. Image: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Public domain

Economic activity has been severally affected in most nations and many people have either lost jobs or have had to reduce their working hours, negatively impacting their disposable income. While, understandably, there is a growing demand for restoring “normalcy”, there are also voices that warn against returning to the “old normal” as if nothing has happened that requires a serious reflection. These voices plead for utilizing the current crisis to develop a “new normal” by utilizing its opportunities, e.g. the unintended-yet-largely-positive environmental impact and the slowing down of the pace of life resulting in reduced stress levels for people who are in a position to better manage social and economic impact of the pandemic.

This discussion paper makes a plea for a more holistic reflection over the causes and effects of the several other urgent challenges facing the world that have been laid bare by COVID19, e.g. climate change, poverty, and diseases. In this current context, we take a closer look at frugal innovations, a concept that has grown in importance over the previous decade and has been known to enable affordable access to goods and services. We examine if and how frugal innovations can be used to develop a “new normal” that acts as an enabler of “affordable green excellence”.

Taking a normative approach, we propose that affordability should be defined in a much more comprehensive manner to includes monetary, societal, infrastructural and environmental affordability. Further, a much closer interaction to the principles of circular economy is proposed. The overlap of frugal innovations and circular economy is the ideal space that should be strived by societal stakeholders, as products that target high environmental affordability without paying enough attention to monetary, societal and infrastructural affordability are as likely to face challenges as are products that are affordable monetarily and in other terms but whose environmental fit is questionable. Policy makers are called upon to create enabling mechanisms to promote affordable green excellence that is required in the post-Corona world even more than it already was prior to the pandemic outbreak.

Note: This discussion paper documents initial ideas with the intention of advancing research on “affordable green excellence”. We invite comments, feedbacks and ideas for collaborative transdisciplinary research/projects from interested colleagues from academia, industry, policy-making institutions and other domains, such as foundations and non-government organizations.

Featured publication: Scope of cooperation between India & Germany in the field of renewable energies with a focus on wind sector

CFI conducted a study on behalf of the Consulate General of India in Hamburg to investigate the potential of Indo-German cooperation in the wind energy sector. Abstract of this study can be found below. The study is authored by Dr. Sadhana Tiwari and Dr. Rajnish Tiwari and was published in February 2019.

Abstract

In 2015, India set itself a very ambitious task of expanding its installed base of renewable energies by more than five times to 175 gigawatt (GW) within seven years (by 2022). It was envisioned that 60 GW would be contributed by wind power. In 2018, the objective was revised upwards to 227 GW in total and 67 GW for wind power. The country needed such challenging goals to ensure an early, universal, and 24×7 access to electricity for all citizens.

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New publication on “Soft Power of Frugal Innovation”

New working paper by Rajnish Tiwari and Jaideep Prabhu: “Soft Power of Frugal Innovation and its Potential Role in India’s Emergence as a Global Lead Market for Affordable Excellence”

In a fruitful cooperation between Center for Frugal Innovation (CFI) and the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Rajnish Tiwari and Jaideep Prabhu have published a conceptual paper on the potential role of frugal innovations in contributing to “soft power” of its creators.

An edited version of this paper is scheduled to appear as a chapter in a forthcoming book on Indian soft power by the Ananta Aspen Centre (AAC). The paper has been published in the Working Paper series of the TUHH Institute for Technology and Innovation Management. The project was initiated after being requested by the AAC to contribute a chapter to the aforementioned contributed volume in May 2017. The chapter was finally contributed in January 2018 and is now in the process of publication.

Abstract:

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Featured publication: “Made in India for the World”

Made in India for the World: An Empirical Investigation into Novelty and Nature of Innovations

Authors: Daniel Tobias Hagenau, Rajnish Tiwari

Abstract: After an initial introduction into the areas of innovations within emerging markets, the study develops a consistent innovation typology for categorizing large data samples from a variety of existing literature. It then describes and finally evaluates a sample of 178 innovations for the Indian market based on 38 different criteria. It uses internet-based news reports over a 2 year timeframe for the study sample.

TLead Market Indiahe study’s results show a considerable amount of radical innovations and innovations with disruptive potential among the sample and a special concentration on small- and micro-sized innovators from India. It confirms previous suggestions that India is especially focused on innovations within the software and electronics engineering sectors. The results also support the importance of local knowledge and ‘social capital’ for successful disruptive innovation. Finally, a perceivable increase in the technology orientation of innovations by foreign companies suggests a continuous build-up of local technology-competence and foreign trust in the same.

A focus on local competencies and the leading position of India concerning innovative distribution are among the managerial implication of the study. It also opens numerous avenues for future research, expanding both depth and scale of the database as well as the analysis underlying this study.

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[Read the unedited, authors’ version]

Keywords: Frugal Innovation; India; Innovation Typology; Disruptive Innovation; Local Competencies 

Suggested citation: Hagenau D.T., Tiwari R. (2017) Made in India for the World: An Empirical Investigation into Novelty and Nature of Innovations. In: Herstatt C., Tiwari R. (eds) Lead Market India. India Studies in Business and Economics. P. 163-192, Springer, Cham

The featured publications series

With this article, CFI is introducing a new series of “featured publications” with the intention to share its select contributions to the social and scholarly discourse with the broad community. Some of these article have been published in mediums that are not freely available to the public. In such cases, we will seek to provide access to unedited, authors’ versions of the publications, wherever feasible.