A Changing Innovation Landscape
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
At a time when the global economy continues to be in a state of flux and the emerging economies are also beginning to feel the impact of this uncertainty, my mind races to the proverbial thought of viewing the glass as half empty or half full. I choose the latter. What reinforce my belief in India’s long-term growth potential are not just its strong economic fundamentals, but also the range of innovation that is shaping all its sectors. When any economy goes through transitions—as it often does—innovation becomes the key driver for socio-economic change and growth. It also makes the entire system more efficient and competitive, generating business opportunities as well as employment.
India is emerging as a hot spot for innovation. During my three years of stay in India, I have seen the innovation environment improve and I must add that the entrepreneurial spirit of the country amazes me. The recently concluded survey by independent research and consulting firm StrategyOne on the innovation environment across the globe backs this observation.
Successive governments have shown an understanding of, and commitment towards, innovation. That said, there is a lot more we can do to accelerate the pace of innovation in the country.
What is common between a fast food joint customizing its food offering to suit the local palate and a consumer durables firm introducing the world’s cheapest refrigerator targeted at the huge rural market? The simple answer is a belief in changing the status quo. They decided to devise a solution that solved the challenges of the common citizen and eventually created the framework for innovation right at the grassroots level.
Take for example the low-cost, high-quality medical services model developed by Dr Devi Shetty’s Narayana Hrudayalaya. This chain of hospitals provides high quality, affordable treatment to poor citizens and they do so in a profitable manner. While many doctors look for patients who can afford a particular treatment, Dr Shetty approached it the other way round. Today, even the rich and a significant number of patients from other countries frequent this hospital chain for treatment. Or look at the successful digitization of bus travel industry in India by Bangalore-based firm redBus. And there are many more such examples.