Human ingenuity and innovation is always valuable than physical resources. This has been confirmed by the findings of two Harvard Economists, Sachs and Warner who studied 97 countries over two decades to understand what drove economic success of nations. To their surprise, availability of abundant natural resources actually correlated negatively with economic success.
Look at India. Today India has already established itself as a leader in process innovation between the IT industry that has redefined excellence in IT and knowledge processes and the pharma industry in the generic space. These innovations sparked a sense of optimism, that has motivated the entire country willing to invest and consume. Coupled with a GDP growth of 8% and a runaway sensex, an increasingly dominant knowledge economy – tempts one to believe that we are at the end of the road.
The reality is we’ve only seen the first generation of process innovation and yet to embark on serious product innovations. Coming at a serious cost, to stay the course of innovation it takes a strong social consensus.
Major drivers for Innovation
Force of Competition, without doubt is a major driver. Today in India, it’s the young companies that drive innovation. That’s because they don’t attempt to become the next `Google’ or `Paypal’. They just go ahead, try and give something new to the world. It works.
Effective R& D coordination – between universities, government funded research centres, corporations and startups accelerates innovation. Working cohesively with a great deal of focus, this is a surefire support.
Individual commitment – Recognise the biggest sin of all is inadvertence. Not being fully awake. The future descends equally on everyone, but some notice it faster because they are always pushing the limits of their knowledge, asking questions and picking up on weak signals. Keep your eyes and ears close to the ground to hear its rumblings.
Intelligent bets – You have to be willing to place intelligent bets, and give up the smoothness of predictability for the non-linear upsides of intelligent risk taking. Not all bets will lead to success but there’s hardly any safety in passivity either. We need to have the self confidence to set a direction but not the arrogance to fight the need to change if market conditions so require.
Goal setting – Agreed we have constraints of infrastructure and resources. Never let that restrain our ambition and allow self imposed limitations to make us aim too low. Go figure how to get over them. Trust me, people already have.
Between knowledge power, the local market as incubator and a burning ambition, India has the potential to be among the world’s leaders in Innovation. The world is waiting.