Programme PGP Term V Academic Year 2021-22

Course title CINE: Understanding Creativity, Innovation, Knowledge, Networks and Entrepreneurship Area Centre for Management in Agriculture Credits 1.25

Prof. Anil Gupta (VF)

Course Description & Objectives
The deepening of democratic processes is unleashing the social aspirations, which in many cases cannot be met either by the state or the market adequately. In such cases, new hybrid forms of organisations are bound to emerge. Getting private funding at proof of concept stage for an innovation is extremely difficult. The role of state thus becomes important. When the Honey Bee Network moved from micro finance to micro venture innovation finance [GIAN, 1997, MVIF, 2003], the support came from the state. Most angel funds and venture funds invest much later in the life of an enterprise. By then, 80 – 90 per cent start-ups ideas may die. This course will try to generate alternative perspective, both in theory and practice for tapping the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of young innovators worldwide but especially in India..

The Covid-19 has created a new global mindset which is looking for more and more local solution, given disruption of the global supply chains. It may look paradoxical that with the increasing uncertainty, higher start-up deaths, and reducing state support, new open space for start-up have become apparent to address emerging social needs. Collaborative ventures have become order of the day. In February 2020, India did not make even one Covid-19 testing kit and by august end, we could manufacture more than half a million kits through NBRIC. How do cooperation becomes more important during periods of high uncertainty?

Creativity requires freedom to think, flexibility to act and functioning beyond boundaries1. Management of creative processes often is constrained by the limits of norms, rules, roles and resources. Creativity does not necessarily always lead to innovation. But sometimes, it does. Nurturing creativity requires tolerance for deviance, dissent and diversity. The organisational culture, which encourages creative ways of solving problems, also accommodates planned failures. Courting uncertainty becomes a mantra, marrying meandering spirit with spontaneity becomes the style. Very few innovative technologies or processes succeed in the market place. And yet, in the absence of a precise predictive test, one has to try many approaches knowing fully well that only a few willsurvive. Innovations need not necessarily take place in the same way at all the levels in the organisation or among the clients or users. There is a widespread interest in the user - driven as distinct from user – innovations (von Hippel, 2010) that influence the organisational choices. However, the open innovation movement begun by the Honey Bee Network 30 years ago has become a mainstream movement today. Which users/or non-users are involved in triggering which kind of innovations also depends upon the values underlying the motivations of innovators and/or firms or other collaborative platforms.

In this course, we will explore and understand the relationship between individual, institutional and societal creativity involved in coping with the risks and uncertainties, overcoming various socio-economic and environmental challenges as a part of the circular economy for designing the futures. Zero-waste economy is the need of the hour. Recycling, repurposing, reusing and rejuvenating used parts or products may trigger a lot of enterprises and innovations in the coming years. It is a hot area of exploration. The innovations need not always diffuse within or outside the organization. The incentives for developing innovations that diffuse widely may not be very difficult to design. But incentives for developing innovations that enable people in limited locations, specific situations with or without handicaps are more difficult to design. The intrinsic motivations (swantahsukhay, for one’s own inner happiness) often outweigh the extrinsic motivations for innovations. Identifying the right blend of both is a challenge that leaders have to face.

The Long Tail of Innovations (Anderson, 2006)2 is an important characteristic of innovation eco-system. That is, a large number of innovations are suitable for small niches and thus may diffuse very locally or in a limited way, but they make place for a few which diffuse widely. The long nose of innovation (Buxton, 2008) on the other hand implies a long wait before a major breakthrough occurs. The computer mouse took thirty years to become popular after its discovery in the sixties.

Knowledge of the processes that trigger creativity and innovation in some situations more easily than others, is available more often with those who can break rules, or have capacity for dissenting and transforming the context. One reason many companies are seeking solutions (crowdsourcing or mass-sourcing ideas3) from outside is that too much of congruence with in internal R and D has led to lesser diversity and thus lower levels of creativity4. Why would dissenters share their knowledge with others? This knowledge could be tacit or explicit, episodic or concurrent/continuous, transient or stable and isolated or networked. Too much of connectedness in an organisation or a society or even at individual level may prevent the minimum isolation that is necessary for innovative ideas to emerge, grow and get institutionalised or go forward. It is true, however, that not all innovative ideas need to get institutionalised. Social Networking may be good for very many purposes but it seldom helps in triggering creative ideas and getting traction for large-scale missions (Iranian elections or Tunisian revolution were exceptions, were they?). Also see5 graphic discussion on how women in Africa have struggled against various kind of injustice by harnessing aesthetics of dissent and alienation.

Knowledge networks reflect the way ideas flow among those who share common concerns even if they lack the consensus about the way these concerns should be articulated. But these networks need to continuously discover strangers from outside the network whose skills and perspective are needed. They shouldn’t have strong gatekeepers who often behave like a third/second class railway compartment inmate (as long as one is outside, you wish to get in, but once you are in, you want to keep others out). The divergence of perspectives facilitates the creation of knowledge networks. Societal norms and culture facilitate the creation of these networks in some situations and inhibit the same in other situations. Indian society has demonstrated different processes through which knowledge networks have emerged at different points of time in history around specific technological and institutional challenges. In the wake of globalisation, new ways of creating networks and managing knowledge have to be discovered. Entrepreneurial ventures without appropriate knowledge networks are unlikely to ever succeed.

The relationship between natural, social, ethical and intellectual capital6 lays the ground for entrepreneurship of different kinds to emerge. Social innovations/entrepreneurship may provide legitimacy for creating a safety net that helps budding economic entrepreneurs. Too much emphasis on individual innovations and entrepreneurship may in due course, dilute the pressure for creating social communities that share knowledge, provide support and nurture creativity. The time has come to look at a range of entrepreneurial forms, such as conventional individual led start-ups, cooperative ventures, network enterprises, cooperative/s of entrepreneurs, commonly owned enterprise to serve member entrepreneurs (e.g. micromaticmachine tools), fluid enterprise (episodic like matrix companies, embedded enterprises (like living-in partners may be) pay-as-you-wish business models, pay-if-earning assured (energy audit start-ups being paid a part of the savings they ensure) and new services models creating benchmarks and standards for industries to trigger innovations, horizontal supply chains as against conventional vertical ones, supply chain based incubation of vendors/manufacturers etc. Cultural enterprises/cooperatives/agencies may create markets for folk artists, authors, performers, sculptors etc.

There is a revolution waiting to happen in the entrepreneurial space. This course intends to break new ground by fertilizing imagination, challenging dogmatic comfort, celebrating irreverence through performance rather than promise. Get good grades by creating small or big miracles and social or commercial businesses/platforms and not just by writing business plans (for a pseudo cv point!) or just the project reports which may line the shelves.

The course will encourage participants to look at the knowledge systems from a multi-cultural perspective so that the dynamics of dissent and diversity can be understood properly. The purpose of an innovative organisation or a society is not only to expand the choices but also elongate the time frame of decision-making. Sustainability is not possible if the time frame is short and the decision-making horizon is narrow.

The pedagogy of the course will involve encounters with innovators/entrepreneurs at grassroots as well as in high tech sectors, service spaces, cultural economy, and generating businesses through entrepreneurial workshops. But all this will rest completely on the initiatives of students. Shallower you dig, lesser surprises you get. Do we really live the day when we have not been surprised?
Profile: Each participant will interview and write the story of a social, economic, institutional or policy linked enterprise in India or abroad which involves significant creative element and innovative approach. Such profiles will require pooling of the background information interview with the entrepreneur and the team members and in case some clients have already been served, then interaction with them. We should also look at other models in the same domain and try to identify the distinctive features of each. There are three sets of audiences for which recommendations must follow: One the entrepreneur, second the policy makers and third the support organisations which provide early stage finance and/or design, mentoring, networking and logistical support.

Funding for young really innovative ideas (

The students are encouraged to set up real innovative companies / ventures for which some seed money will be provided by the faculty/ and or third party students or social investors to trigger real outcomes if needed. Technological innovation based enterprises will be preferred though other social, cultural and economic enterprises based on innovative structures or processes are also welcome. The course will undergo final layout in the hands of participants in the true tradition of user defined anduser based innovation models. All projects and reviews will be put up on the CINE blog or a new site can be created by the course participants.
Projects: Those students who do not want to set up entrepreneurial ventures can take up a project highlighting unusual aspects of creativity, innovations or public policies or private initiatives for supporting start-ups in different parts of the world.

Specific chapters or sections of different books will be suggested in class.Some of the readings will make more sense after the class.