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The concept of innovation has taken centre stage with the onset of competition both at the domestic and international markets resulting from the globalization of national economies, rapid technological advancement, and far reaching changes taking place in societies throughout the world.

Experience has shown that, unfortunately, a tacit assumption is often made that innovation can only be generated by educated the elite who work in formal organizations such as universities, R&D institutions, and businesses. The end result of such an assumption is that the creative genius of ordinary people in rural and urban areas and other disadvantaged regions in a country is unwittingly ignored. It has been well documented, especially by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), Ahmedabad, India, based on the experience gained through its Honey Bee Network, that innovations at the grassroots level are numerous and many of these either contain complete solutions to local problems or have within them the 'seeds' to develop a solution by blending these innovations with formal scientific approaches.

Taking note of the lack of attention being paid to realizing the 'commercial and social value' of grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge and to ensure that the work of APCTT in innovation management takes on an inclusive dimension, APCTT implemented the project "Promotion of Grassroots Innovation in Asia-Pacific Countries' with generous funding support from the Government of India.

The Directory on Green Grassroots Innovation and Traditional Knowledge is a compilation of the outputs of the project for wider dissemination and to encourage policy makers in the government and decision makers at academia and R&D institutions to focus on grassroots innovation. It includes the material compiled by SRISTI for the use of participating member countries and the information generated during the field visits and six workshops that were held during the period June 2007 - March 2008.

K. Ramanathan
Head, APCTT-ESCAP