Rules for innovators & Innovation


Innovation as a basic instinct for India to be an ‘Innovation Capital’ 

The recently released ‘GE Global Innovation Barometer 2018’ (GIB), is a good reference document. As always, being published by a corporate, it will have its share of ‘business interests’ at its core to ensure that the government and corporates think in a manner that helps the businesses, but a few points of the report are really important!!

As a student and a practitioner of innovation, I write this article to clear some basics about innovation

According to GIB,

  • The top five innovation conducive countries have the five largest GDPs; USA, Japan Germany, China and the U.K.
  • India is amongst the countries where multinationals are the main driver for innovation and going by the historical tracking data at a global level,this had the largest increase from 2014 to 2018
  • When it comes to SMEs being the main driver for innovation in a country (Historical tracking data at a global level); Germany comes to the top, and India is amongst the bottom (10 %)
  • In emerging economies, governments are now not seen to be driving innovation as much as they were in 2014.

When India is trying to grow to a 10 trillion-dollar economy over a decade, we cannot ignore the above facts. India has to become a pioneering leader in innovation to have a sustainable growth and become a strong economy as we cannot achieve our goals without innovation. The government needs to take the lead for innovation! Instead of MNCs driving innovation in India, it must be the MSMEs which should be majorly driving it.

In 2016, the World Bank said that, 69 % of the jobs in India are under threat due to automation, and that’s a part of the natural evolution and maturity; but another fact that we should remember is, that if India innovates in MSME, agriculture, education, health, smart cities, tourism and services sector, we will create more jobs than we can ever think of. Every household can have a decent job in the next 10 years and for that, we need the ‘India Innovation Mission’. Innovation is not prescriptive i.e. we cannot issue a G.O (Government Order) that India will innovate from tomorrow.

Let’s understand some basics about innovation:

  1. Innovation is not about incremental change or tweaking some processes. It is about massive change that disrupts and transforms a sector forever. Example;
  • Digital Photography transformed photography sector
  • Mobile phones changed the communication sector and created a massive impact
  • Kindle transformed how we read, and the publishing sector
  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) transformed how we send satellites in space cost effectively, and India has become a world leader in PSLV launches.
  • Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a wonderful example of how India innovated against odds. I call it the ‘MOM model of innovation’, wherein, we landed at Mars at the cost of USD 74 million versus a USD 674 million Maven of the US, and much cheaper than the movie ‘Gravity’ that costed USD 100 million!! Moreover, we landed in our very first attempt!!
  • Aravind hospitals transformed cataract surgery
  1. Any Innovation needs to qualify a few basic criteria;
  • Changes the sector forever
  • Creates a mass impact
  • Affects the entire value chain
  • Disrupts the price- market – usage
  • Is asset light
  • Is Scalable and stimulates further innovation
  1. Innovation can be in three spheres; product (mobiles), process (Ola, Uber) and system (Toyota).

India presents a unique opportunity to innovative in almost every sector. Everything in India that can be touched has the potential to be innovated and transformed. Since we have huge population to cater to, and we have resource crunch in terms of finances and infrastructure; the only way India can survive is by innovating, and the challenges in India present a fertile ground, making India a melting pot for innovation.

So, how do we go about making India the innovation capital? India needs to set up the India Innovation Mission (I2 M), under which, we address the following;

  • Top priority – change the work place setting, culture and environment.
  • Education system has to transform. As a member of the National Education Policy committee, I have made specific recommendations. If implemented, it will be a great contributor
  • Government needs to change the way it interfaces with the public and how it functions. Authoritative culture is against the basic tenets of innovation

A lot to learn from the USA: I have travelled most of the world, and I observed that USA remains a leader in innovation, and we can learn a lot from the US. I arrived at the following six commandments for making an organization/institution/ country innovative;

  1. No hierarchy based protocols & no formalities amongst colleagues
  2. Flexibility in approach in all spheres of functioning.
  3. Self-development – quality time with family and for self
  4. Meritocracy based system
  5. Failure is not a taboo
  6. Availability of capital

Innovation cannot be enforced externally and has to be inculcated as an ‘intrinsic quality’, facilitated by a conducive ‘ecosystem’, with ‘planned efforts’. In India, under the I2 M, we need to bring a massive and planned change

More so, with PM Modi’s vision of a New India , India will have to become the Innovation capital of the world and Innovation has to be the basic instinct . The same principles apply to every developed and developing country to become an innovative country.

We should remember; Earlier, we innovated when we got into a problem, now if we don’t innovate, we will get into a problem.

Prof. Rajendra Pratap Gupta holds a master degree in innovation & change management, is a Distinguished Professor of Innovation @ a Central University

Media Will face a crisis of existence in a decade


The world is going digital, and this is not just about changing reading habits , it is also about the changing business landscape . We need to look at this ‘digitization’ more deeply.

On June 5th 2016, we saw the news that, now the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) — an independent body that provides audited newspaper and magazine circulation — is foraying into the measurement of digital properties, to track audience in the online space.This is going to create the biggest shakeup in the media industry. If people are spending more time online, the money will follow there and so, print media will either have to evolve new business models or face crisis of existence. Also, it means that the advertisement spends will now be in the hands of American giants like Google , Facebook etc. This is cause of serious concern .

Let us look at some more facts about how this evolution is taking place

One of the top global magazines;Newsweek, after 80 years, ended its print edition in Dec 2012. This signaled the direction to where the print media is headed about three years ago

Also, Let us take the case of book stores; Barnes & Nobles, Borders and Amazon. Barnes & Nobles was the largest book store in the world in 1997 (19 years ago) and at one time,Barnes and Noble and Borders controlled 25 % of the book market. But now, Barnes & Nobles (which started in 1886-130 years ago), is making losses and the valuations have dropped to USD 719 million. Also, Borders went out of business last year after being in business for 45 years. Amazon which started as a book store in 1994, 22 years ago, is valued at USD 88 billion. The industry went upside down in the past two decades, and we even don’t need a publisher now…. times are changing andthe message is clear  .

Changing Role of Media – The Political dimension: Media is now not just a platform, it is a tool If you wish to fight an MLA election in Uttar Pradesh next year, you need to have 25000 followers online to seek an election ticket  .

Also, over the past few years, we have seen that the government policies were withdrawn due to the ‘hue and cry’ in social media. So, the online / digital media has a new veto power in politics

Politicians are now reaching out to the audience via twitter and providing relief.The online media is also personalized and interactive, and delivers on the target.This is flipping the power in the hands of the consumer

Social media is very important for politicians as not only,it connects them to their audience, it amplifies their reach, knowledge and impact

Old media could cover news and the new media has the power to create news. This makes it a great tool

My personal experience: How media has changed personally for me?  I stopped reading the print newspapers a few months ago,because;

1. During my travels , the news papers would pile up in my study and it was tough to catch up with the unread newspapers

2. With online newspapers ,I can forward ( email ) or save important news

3. I can read when I am traveling and news from any part of the world in any part of the world

4. Also, it is updated live … I don’t have to wait for my newspaper vendor to come late or bring a wet newspaper during rains,and wait for the magazine to come every fortnight or month, when I need and can read the news instantly

5. I can comment and put forth my views. So, the old media is passive media and the new media is active and interactive …. It makes sense to be using new media. Digital media has an edge over the traditional print media

6. Above all, It is free

The new age mediais bottoms up and not top down. You can ‘buy’ the new age media ..‘Trending’ will size you up  Also, the new media is smaller and crisper. I don’t have to read the entire news, I can read the headline and go into the content based on my interest

I believe that in the next few years, twitter will become a news-channel or newspaper, and so will your TV transition into live app on phone, or Youtube may make way for multiple TV channels.

The media world will change faster than we can think  Media has evolved from being a newsmaker to career maker and a policy maker  The flip side of the new media is same as old age media … it is getting over crowded too fast. Luckily, it is asset-light to withstand balance sheet pressures

Now, the  ‘virtual’ world Is the ‘real world’, and at this time, digital media is complementing the print media but in the near future, it has the potential to replace it, andwe cannot rule out its progression from prominence to dominance in the next few years Digital is successful because of ‘edge’ and not ‘age’ and those who do not take corrective steps, will face a crisis of relevance and existence both

(Rajendra Pratap Gupta is a leading public policy expert. Views are personal ) –

Media will face a crisis of existence in a decade