Unlocking resilience through autonomous innovation

Working and discussion papers
January 2016
Aditya Bahadur and Julian Doczi
The world is facing a growing number of natural, technological, economic, social and political shocks and stresses. But the people, places and countries that are the most vulnerable to their impacts often lack the resources needed for structured processes of innovation to deliver scientifically-robust solutions to reduce their vulnerability and build resilience.

In these instances, approaches to innovation that are inclusive, bottom-up and frugal or draw on the philosophy of jugaad (a Hindi term for cheap and simple solutions) are highly relevant. Private sector actors such as 3M, Huawei and the Tata group already employ principles from concepts such as jugaad to innovate and improve business practice, yet these novel ideas are rarely employed by development actors engaged in building resilience.

This working paper draws on these alternative approaches to innovation to present the concept of ‘autonomous innovation’ as an important process for enhancing resilience to a range of shocks and stresses, including climate change.