Encouraging a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in a country with a huge population density like India can have a significant role to play in ensuring the rise of self-reliant communities, especially in a post-COVID-19 future where reverse migration has become noteworthy. As per experts, by increasing the varied set of people per capita who can inspire and develop markets and try out new products and methodologies etc., India, can leverage its innovative diversity to its fullest potential. Despite India’s popular ‘jugaad’ culture, the innovation wave is yet to penetrate in smaller towns and villages. While access to spaces of innovation irrespective of age or economic differences serves as an entry point, this can only be sustained if communities are nurtured to build upon the local ecosystem with an increased degree of interactivity and ownership.
The program design of Atal Community Innovation Center (ACIC), an initiative by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, is therefore modelled after a careful study of the bottlenecks in the innovation cycle suggesting systemic interventions to counter them. This paper focuses on building the willingness and capacity of people to access the innovation infrastructure. The suggested methods have been supported by insights from the theory of creativity as well as evidence from action research done at Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community, Arunachal Pradesh as a Lakpar Fellow.