Are we like this only?

Understanding (and shaping) India

India drops to 41 out 130 in Global Innovation Index

I came across this  LiveMint article today that says that India has fallen 18 ranks to a woeful 41 out of 130 countries.

I am not  too concerned with India’s actual rank in such rankings. Others will argue about whether the metrics and methodology were correct or consistently applied. That is not an argument I want to get into because frankly it does not matter if the rank was 15 or 100. The bottomline is that when it comes to innovation, we have miles to go. Maybe someone can do some jugaad and bump up India’s score,  but that won’t make our system more conducive for innovation.

Raj Nair (disclaimer: he’s my dad), when asked in an interview in L!ve (a publication from IIT Bombay’s School of Management) what role he thought the government can play to promote innovation in India said, “it can stay out of the industry and innovation will happen automatically”.  (You can read the whole interview here).

While I agree that government should butt out of  innovation, there is a lot it can do to make sure that innovation is not hurt — like transparent policies, fighting terrorism, investing in energy, infrastructure, education, law and order, and healthcare. Ideas can foster better in an environment where physiological and safety needs are met (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

That’s what the government can do. Meanwhile, private industry needs to be a little more ballsy and try to achieve the untried instead of mimicking the developed world.

Edit: Please see these well written articles on the same subject:

1. The world’s engineers, but not the architects!

2. Can India produce billion dollar innovations?

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January 27, 2010 - Posted by | india, innovation, needs

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