28 August 2005

Innovation premium

What does it mean to now have India, along with China, as a major player in the global knowledge market?

According to Geoffrey Moore, leading consultant on technology and transformation challenges, and author of books such as ‘Crossing the Chasm’ and ‘Inside the Tornado’, the ‘innovation premium’ that the U.S. commanded all these years has now dwindled. In its place is a new knowledge market economy. The question is: For India, what does this mean?

According to a Wharton report on India:
Demand is expanding across industry groups to include programs to bring Indian managers up to speed with their western counterparts on business culture, professional standards and work ethics.

India’s top private sector companies rate high on management skills, notes Jonathan Spector, vice dean of Executive Education at Wharton, who has made India and China his highest priorities for international programs. “Senior executives at some of the leading companies in India are every bit as good as their counterparts anywhere in the world in terms of sophistication, knowledge of management, functional skills, strategic perspective and vision,” he says. “The biggest challenge is simply increasing the number of people who are globally sophisticated general managers. It’s a numbers game.” Spector says in that respect, India is dealing with a fundamentally different challenge than the one China faces. “There are many more role models at the top of Indian companies than there are at Chinese companies, although there are some in China,” he says, adding that this represents “a huge and significant advantage” for India.

But, in this milieu, what happens to the U.S. knowledge market? Are U.S. companies going to sit idle and watch their businesses slip out of their hands – and into India and China? Surely, they should respond.

Here, we turn to Geoffrey Moore again.

Jonathan Boutelle, a technology consultant himself, in his blog, reports a talk Moore gave at a TiE event a couple of months ago. Moore felt (and I quote from Boutelle)
the goal is to achieve “escape velocity”, to punch through the marketing noise and build a product that excels at one thing so spectacularly that your customers pay a premium to buy from you and your competitors give up.

Moore described products as
evolving over time, as value is continually extracted from the core of the product (as it gets commoditized) and layered on to the surface into specialized, customized products for ever-smaller, ever-more specialized markets. According to Boutelle, Moore presented 16 types of innovation which are likely to help U.S. companies achieve this “escape velocity”.

I feel these 16 types of innovation are worth considering, even if we are Indian. So, why not give Jonathan Boutelle’s 20 April 2005 blog a look see? [go to second-half of blog]

[Citation: from Wharton article ‘Can India Bridge the Knowledge Gap Needed for Research’]

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