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No person, and no organisation for that matter, is an island. To be innovative, one ultimately needs a good ‘innovation ecosystem’ that comprises stakeholders ranging from educational institutions to investors. We do have such an ecosystem in India, but it could be improved. And you can play a key role in this regard.
Building an innovative and successful company requires the cooperation of a number of people and entities. These include research organisations, educational institutions, investors, banks, capable employees, law and finance consultants, and supportive government policies and tax structures!
1. The economic slowdown will make innovation more important
Apart from innovating to compete on a global scale, India also has a large domestic market to cater to. “Nationwide, innovations will be focused towards developing technology that will help in making products and services affordable and distributable to the masses at the bottom of the pyramid. Today, innovations like short message services and mobile telephony are being exploited to deliver simple solutions like market prices to millions of people across the nation in rural areas,” says Prakash Pai, president & head - Product Management Group, Nucleus Software.
The economic slowdown will not stall but will, in fact, spur innovation. “The economic meltdown, which we expect to be deep and protracted, will force companies to innovate, and do things better at a lesser cost,” explains Arjun Rao, CEO, ValueLabs. He adds that there are key considerations and opportunities before the business community—like environment-friendly/green growth, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and so on. All of which call for an innovative approach.
However, it will not be smooth sailing, especially since the financial crisis may make it tougher than ever before to get private equity funding for R&D projects with long gestation periods. But innovators will not stop working; they will simply refocus. Rao feels that rather than focusing on new products, the innovation initiatives taken by organisations will now be market-focused and will look at improving existing processes, delivery mechanisms, cost structures, etc.
Forecast: Nascent technologies wait to be tapped by innovators, but funds may be scarce due to the financial crisis. However, the economic slowdown will not stall innovation—it will make it a matter of survival. At the moment, organisations might concentrate on market-facing innovations rather than new technologies.