Several poor women workers carry-out their livelihood activities manually owing to absence of appropriate tools.
Agariya tribal women migrate to Kutch to make salt manually (Kutch, Gujarat) [ Photo credit ]
They suffer poor working conditions, exploitative wages, zero employment security.
Women involved in backbreaking activity of planting rice sapling (Dimapur, Nagaland) [ Photo credit ]
The work is extremely arduous and repetitive.
A migrated women worker from Andra Pradesh making bricks (Thirumazhisai, Tamil Nadu) [ Photo credit ]
An estimated 118 million women workers involved in such informal-labour sector in India alone
A home-based women worker making bangles over flames (Khairawa, Nepal) [ Photo credit ]
Informal women workers’ contribution to domestic production is high but they remain largely invisible under middlemen system
Group of women making Bidi at their own community enterprise (Juna, Madhya Pradesh) [ Photo credit ]
We design and give them appropriate tools to do their activities easily, efficiently and more productively
An old woman plucks tea-leaves manually and drops it in the heavy basket at back (Temi, Sikkim) [ Photo credit ]
We aim to provide visibility to these invisible women workers by grouping them into a community enterprise
women making fire-cracker at a factory (Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu) [ Photo credit ]


TinkerTank is a for-profit social enterprise whose vision is to eliminate the manual drudgery that poor people have to undergo to make a pittance living especially the women workers involved in cottage-based industries. It designs, manufactures and disseminates appropriate, low-cost and high-quality tools and machines which help underserved people to do their livelihood activities easily and be more productive.

TinkerTank is currently housed in IIT Gandhinagar Campus, India. It is currently disseminating Doopica and is moving-forward to built pertinent product-pipeline.


  • Keshav G Keshav G
  • Adnan Ansari Adnan Ansari
  • Abhishek Rathi Abhishek Rathi
  • Kalpesh Joshi Kalpesh Joshi
  • Abhishek Kandoi Abhishek Kandoi
  • Hare Mahato Hare Mahato


Ankita Ostawal
Abhishek Umrao
Sahil Garg


  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2014
  • 2014
  • What was conceived as an summer internship challenge has led to creation of TinkerTank. In 2011, Keshav was interning with Prof. Eswaran Subramanian to study the infrastructural development that was happening in slum-dwellings in the City of Bengaluru. During his visits to several slums, Keshav observed that most of the women dwellers were rolling incense-sticks manually for a living. What he saw was much against his presumption that incense-sticks in India are made largely by some machines. He was wrong; a little research into it revealed that more than 90 percent of incense-sticks are in-fact made manually, not by some machine. Keshav started to interact with the incense-stick workers. He gradually understood the pain-points that exists in this labour industry. The manually process of making incense-stick is a drudgery, which involves repetitive smearing of black incense-paste over a bamboo stick. Since a piece-wage wise existed, women pushed themselves to make more and more incense-sticks, to earn better. They would get compelled to involve their daughters in the trade. They would earn a pittance of INR 60 for rolling about 3000 sticks per day. The poor quality of sticks and the exploitative middle-man system reduced their earnings. Not to mention the health hazards that goes in making these sticks. Keshav teamed up with Prakash Kumar Uttam and Tanmay Balwa, his batchmates at IIT Gandhinagar, to start developing a machine, under the guidance of Prof. Murali Damodaran which would help these women make incense-sticks easily and more. The output was a mock prototype which principally made incense-sticks but was not a commercial fit. The project was shut until in 2012 when Prof. Sudhir Jain, the Director at IIT Gandhinagar, offered to support the project to push it to a commercial stage. What was important was to bring that machine among the workers and make an impact. Keshav started to redesign, co-create, and refine the prototype by taking the minimal viable product to the field and collect feedback. By the end of 2013, a commercially fit incense-stick machine was created. It was named Doopica (derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhoopika’ which mean ‘one who creates incense’). During the course of development of Doopica, Keshav felt that it was important not just to create one machine for just one of the several labour-intensive industries but start developing machines for women involved in other livelihood activities. He conceived TinkerTank which would conceptualize, design and disseminate tools/machines that will help poor people to their livelihood activities easily and such that they earn more.


    Incorporated in Jan’14, TinkerTank aims to be a changemaker of India’s informal labour industries. With nil or outdated technology at their disposal, poor women and men do their livelihood activity manually, leading to extreme drudgery and significant health hazards.While India has accomplishment technological advancement in space exploration – sending satellites into multiple orbits – little has it done to bring the same advancement in informal labour sector, especially the cottage-based industries.TinkerTank is set-out to create technology intervention in these industries, such that women and men don’t have to face extreme hardships to earn a living. With such tools and machine they can give good quality output efficiently and hence earn more.TinkerTank wishes to give visibility to these invisible workers

  • Doopica, a semi-automatic incense-stick making machine, is the first product of TinkerTank. The motive, the journey and the process behind its development is detailed in the previous post. The following self-explanatory images speaks about the feature and the uniqueness of the Doopica. While one might argue that the machine will push the women off their livelihood activity, it is to be noted that Doopica is semi-automatic system which will still require a manual presence for it’s operation. Doopica is designed not to be an industrial-scale machine but designed to be a home-based tool through which women can make incense-sticks easily.

  • TinkerTank win’s the IIT Bombay’s Eureka business plan competition (social track) on 1st Feb, 2014. The incentive includes INR 1L cash prize, direct entry into E-Bootcamp organized by BASES – Stanford and entry into Intel’s APEC Challenge to be held in Taiwan. The competition was attended by Keshav, Adnan and Abhishek. This achievement was covered by Indian Express which features Keshav and TinkerTank. Click here to read more.

Ahmedabad Office:

109, Shed-4, IIT Gandhinagar
New CG Road, Chandkheda
Ahmedabad, India 382424
Keshav - 08000983360

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