Dissemination and Social Diffusion
Social Diffusion in NIF's case may be differentiated by the commonly understood usage of social diffusion as the study of diffusion of ideas and innovations in the society. Many innovations available with NIF may not have the potential of widespread commercialization but can enhance social wealth, improve people's lifestyles and facilitate sustainable alternatives for development. Such technologies are called open source technologies, which anybody can adopt as per his/her need without any payment. In many cases, innovators have also generously declared their innovations open source so that society at large can benefit from them.
NIF has a large database of over 1, 74, 000 ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge, including proprietary, open source and common public knowledge. While the percentage of proprietary traditional knowledge (individual or community) and innovations where NIF has filed patents in the names of the individuals or communities is quite low, much knowledge is available (common or open source), which can be disseminated without any IP considerations.
NIF has also operationalised Grassroots Technological Innovations Acquisition Fund (GTIAF) wherein it intends to acquire rights of useful grassroots technologies from innovators after paying an upfront fee and disseminate/diffuse it at low cost or no cost to other innovators, fabricators, farmers or entrepreneurs across the country for societal good.
The Dissemination and Social Diffusion (DSD) department works in close coordination with the S&D and IT departments. The specific tasks undertaken to further dissemination activities include coordination of publication activities of NIF online as well as in print and developing content for newsletters, books, compendiums, posters, CDs, kiosks, websites etc. NIF also participates in workshops, seminars, exhibitions and various events like India International Trade Fair, Indian Science Congress for the purpose. It also facilitates demonstration of technologies for their possible uptake by relevant stake holders. Establishing linkages with other institutions and networks for dissemination is also one of the important activities of NIF.
Grassroots Technological Innovation Acquisition Fund (GTIAF)
Expanding the public domain: Many technologies may take long time to blossom into products or services. In some cases, they may not have much future impact, except in the specific context in which they originated, unless they are blended with other technologies from the formal or informal sectors. Some technologies may not have much commercial potential at all, but be open to social diffusion. The GTIAF addresses such needs. NIF acquires the rights to such technologies, which are then licensed at low or no cost to small entrepreneurs. Some of these technologies enter the public domain and are transmitted to communities whose members make use of them.
The idea here is that the state and not innovators should subsidize society. Though NIF acquires the rights to a given technology, innovators still retain their right to use their innovations in any way they want at their level. If the NIF is able to license it to third party for a higher sum or generate more revenue, these funds are shared with the innovators even though they have licensed the rights. Volunteers can contribute to pooling technologies to generate value-added products, use social media to create wider awareness and translate non-monetary practices into local languages.
NIF organised two GTIAF meetings in February and March 2012 inviting different innovators and farmers to explain them the purpose of the fund, rights, and the duties and obligations of both NIF and the innovators. Subsequently, the innovators willing to hand over the rights of their technologies to NIF signed agreement with it. In total NIF acquired the rights of seventy one technologies (including thirty nine plant varieties) at the cost of Rs twenty seven lakh seventy five thousand. Plans are being chalked out for social diffusion/dissemination of these technologies in relevant pockets of the country.
|Open Source Technologies|