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Innovation and India

Innovation is often related to entrepreneurship. Even when Prof Peter F Drucker wrote his book on entrepreneurship he had named it “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” and the question might arise why?

We will explore the 4Ws and H of innovation to understand why these are synonymous to one another. The four Ws are what, why, when, where and the H is how. What is Innovation and what does it mean to India?

It would be worthy to examine what innovation means and how it differs from invention. Invention is something novel (new) and does not necessarily have a business value. On the other hand innovation is not necessarily something novel (new) but it has  business value. What does this mean? By innovating we are making a service or product to have commercial value. And hence its relationship to entrepreneurship as entrepreneurs focus is to make commercial value with their venture. However saying this it is not only entrepreneurs who need to innovate but all of us need to be innovative in order for our organization to suffer in this era of change and ever changing technology. Unless the company is innovative technologically its chances of survival in this fast moving times are remote.

In other words innovative products and services increase the benefit-to-cost ratio significantly. Another perspective is that innovation lowers the costs and/or increases the benefits of a product or service.

A good innovation increases the benefits-to-costs ratio to such an extent that it enables you to  enjoy a product or service you would not have  thought of enjoying. Some examples which fall in this category are home printer, camera, mobile telephone, car, flying, television, computer, email, fax and online shopping.

Cost is not just money. It can be the ease in use, the skill level required, physical pain, harm or risk, inconvenience and environmentally friendly products and services. Benefits can be the efficiency, effectiveness, safety, speed, pleasure, healthy and fun.

Why innovative? With current slow down unless companies innovate they will not survive these trying periods. It is also because in today’s world competition is great and hence the better companies will innovate to stay a head.

India needs to innovate now more then ever before with the impact of globalization, migration, technological and knowledge revolutions, and climate change issues. Innovation brings better living quality and employment. Innovation will lead to a better India for the benefit of the youth of India.

Innovation has become the talk of multi national companies to small medium businesses world over. In some countries the science ministry has changed or added the word Ministry of Science and Innovation. This goes to show that not only companies are focusing on Innovations but even governments are turning to innovation. Innovation is also a tool to help poorer countries not only to develop but also provide basic needs like water, electricity and clean living. These innovations which cost only a few rupees can give tremendous relief to the villages in India. For example a few solar panels can supply a whole house with the electricity it requires. With plenty of sun here in India this would be a reality.

When to innovate? Simply always!

Where to innovate? Yet again another simple response but a serious one every where!

We in India need to innovate always and every where as otherwise we will not be able to keep up with the growth India has been experiencing over the past two decades and this is where the Americans are slowing down because the rest of us have woken up and started to be innovative and are on the  backs of the Americans with our innovations

How to innovate? There are many ways to innovate. The following are some areas in which we in India should innovate viz. in operations, human capital, process and product. Many Indian businesses are still operated in the good old ways i.e. using lots of paper where we can computerise and by doing so we will save time and hence efficiency will increase. Human capital cross training our people this will increase skill levels which will in turn lead to innovation. In India we have many processes which are really not required. When applying for service we are made to fill the forms in several duplicates and mostly  no one sees these filled forms and  most of them  end up in shops as wrappers. A simple  online form would remove many of these unnecessary forms and this would help the environment by reducing the wastage of paper. An area where India can surely innovate is product innovation. With so many customers and innovators with this lethal combination India should be a world leader in innovation.

To innovate we Indians must have  revolutionary minds and will.

2 comments to Innovation and India

  • Suresh

    Interesting and informative post. Innovation is almost a necessity in today’s economic context where all of us have to achieve more with less. There is an impertive need to reduce cost, thereby increasing profitability. One way of innovating is to look at the value chain and see how we could innovate in each element of the value chain. This, in my opinion, would be a structured approach, as opposed to a random approach to innovating without a focus.

  • Lakshmi

    Innovation is the spark, Entreprenuership is the fire. We are all innovative in many ways. We have several sparks in our life-time, but only some of them ignite and a ver few grows to be referred as a raging fire – a grand success.While we normally look at I and E together, there is a case to seperate them. I, for the most part is an individual activity, while E is a collective pursuit.

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