Assam Innovation Lab Summit 2017

The Transformation and Development Department, Government of Assam in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA), Centre for Sustainable Development Goals (CSDGs) and Centre for Innovation and Futures Studies (CIFS) organised a two-day event on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2017 titled, Innovation Lab Summit: 'Taking Forward Innovation and Foresight in Assam'.

The Government of Assam has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its Vision 2030 and recognizes that the ambitious level of the goals requires a new way of thinking in the entire government. The Assam government will set up an innovation laboratory here with the help of a Finland-based innovation organization and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to accomplish its goal of doubling farm income by 2022. To achieve its vision, the Government has announced a "Mega Mission" called the Chief Minister's Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY). The aim of the Mega Mission is to double farm income in the state of Assam, to be implemented over a period of 5 years from 2016-17 to 2021-22.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the innovation lab would bring new practices to find solutions to problems and improve governance. He said, "We must bring in new innovation to fulfil the promise of good governance. There are numerous challenges in our mission to double the farm income by 2022 and the innovation lab will help us to bring new solutions."

The two-days saw participants from all departments of Government of Assam, engaging in processes of co-creation, foresight, and experimentation with the assistance of the facilitators coming up with innovative blueprints on issues around nutrition, education, agriculture, roads, traffic and rural housing. Mr. Anurag Goel, the former secretary of the ministry of corporate affairs and co-founder of Shaping Tomorrow consultants LLP was invited to the summit. The event was facilitated by Mr Jaakko Kuosmanen and Ms Outi Kuittinen from Demos Helsinki, a Finland based non-profit organisation who specialise in innovation in governance, Prashant Mehra and Satyam Gambhir from Mindtree, an information technology consultancy firm.

The main themes of the discussions of the summit focused on:

  • Understanding the voices from the grassroots.
  • Integrating the findings from the SPAPs to identify key areas of focus.
  • Identifying relevant international benchmarks for Assam.
  • Mapping innovation tools in Assam's context for fulfilling the gaps.
  • Drafting a detailed roadmap for the establishment of a permanent Innovation Lab in Assam.
  • Roadmap for applying lab-methods to Sub-missions of CMSGUY.
  • Roadmap for capacity building of core team of 'SDG Champions' as well as key government officials in various departments.
  • Initial Innovation capacity building for government officials and selected SDG Champions from Districts.