What and where is innovation in India?

Contrary to most popular belief startups may not neccessarily mean innovation , it certainly could be a business( a good one maybe). Simillarly a product may not be equal to innovation and some cases it could be a good business too.

Of late I have seen more noise than substance about innovation in the Indian context and this thought has been nagging for quite some time and recent attendance to proto just confirmed that. While on the one hand it is true venture capital supply demand is skewed but to my mind there are not enough innovative technology startups so to speak of.

As usual my yardstick is an economic one and not one based on financial ( read balance sheet) metrics or either coolaid factor in a new technology. I think we should really tune down the volume of noise about innovation in technology space.

While till few months ago we had an acute problem of not having enough avenues to bring forth innovation to the forefront but now with many events, mainstream media and blogs bridging that shortage and providing a showcase platform  the problem has really shifted to the other end with no real innovation existing out there to showcase. I think the part of the problem is that maybe entreprenuers are not thinking big. I am willing to extend this notion a bit further and say that there is no incentive to innovate on technology front as the market may not be yet rewarding them.

To speak of innovation in India, I think it is coming from different sectors , as usual in the services( including  IT/KPO services)  industry maybe , financial industry, infrastructure space but not from the technology space as one would expect.

I did not make many resolutions for the year 2008 and already have broken the few that I made but I am going to pledge that I am going to walk out of any discussion/meet where the words ‘Innovation’, ‘Community’ , ‘Value creation’ & Mobility is going to be used where the group discussing this has no idea of what these words are.


  1. Ashish says:

    Hey Rajan
    “I am going to pledge that I am going to walk out of any discussion/meet where the words ‘Innovation’, ‘Community’ , ‘Value creation’ & Mobility is going to be used where the group discussing this has no idea of what these words are.” – so that means you will be out of TiE, Nasscom, Proto, Headstart, and whole lot of other events !! 🙂

    Jokes aside, I completely agree with you and infact, I would rather say that innovation (be it technical or business process) is not at all happening in tech scene (max 10 companies one can count who are doing some interesting work)…and the real ‘stuff’ is happening elsewhere!


  2. Sangfroid says:

    hehe … that resolution would be difficult to stick to 😛

  3. Jayakumar says:

    Thats a very interesting post Rajan!

    Most of the sessions/panel-discussions/communities are doing nothing but “intellectual-masturbation” (sorry for the term here. I didn’t find better one to describe the current situation of tech industry). Many of the folks don’t even have clue about what does it take to innovate in the tech industry. This is mainly because nobody “been-there-done-that”!

    On the other end, the tech industry need look on other businesses (Example: TVS motors) and learn how to do “real” stuff.

  4. ajitesh says:

    Rajan, your post sounds interesting. Word “innovation” has off late lost its meaning. And “Innovation” to produce “Compelling value creation” is a lot more difficult. As, innovation at times could be self-centered and look geart idea in itself but does not have much capability to create compelling value for society in general.

    For me “innovation” should not only get initiated with absolutely fresh out of the world idea. However, I also see innovation as “existing things done in a different manner” ultimately to make users life simple. For that matter, cell phone does the same thing as land line, but creates a compelling value owing to its nature of being mobile.

    Anyways, as pointed by Jaya, most of the sessions….:) AND, Innovation is easier said than done..We all have a tendency to fall in love with our idea..which is truely human! However, a real innovator keeps in mind “Can I bring smile on users face” and truely innovates! cheers

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