24 August 2005

Rays of light

In India, the word ‘innovation’ is treated with some sort of awe. Innovation is something that happens somewhere else, not in India. Innovation is never encouraged in our centres of knowledge, our schools and colleges, which prefer to follow the beaten path… sometimes not changing direction for decades together.

The government is also lax in creating an environment for encouraging innovation, citing ‘lack of money’ as its main deterrent. Added to this is India’s poor understanding and appreciation of intellectual property rights and regulations. If our inventions are not protected by law, why would anyone even bring their invention out in the open?

Then, there’s the technology angle. India has never been known as a technology pioneer or leader. And most inventions seem to have a technology component to it.

But all that is changing. In the last couple of years, India has delivered a series of innovations, domestic and international, which has not only benefited specific segments of business and society, but has actually contributed to the whole world. Happily, the innovations have not only emerged from fields of technology, but also from rural needs and applications. These innovations are the rays of light that shine on India today.

But, I’m not going to give it all away in this blog post. On the contrary, I’ll recommend you to take the trouble and read an article (a 4-part series) by Arindam Banerji which appeared in rediff.com last year.

Arindam Banerji, a scientist and entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, has discussed the entire concept of innovation in India, calibrating its progress and taking it to the extent of presenting a framework for institutionalising innovation… which he believes India badly needs.

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