Thursday, March 19, 2009

Have we finally caught up?

ET reports, in a recent conclave Jason Pontin, the charismatic editor and publisher of MIT's "Technology Review" - the publication of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - confidently proclaims that India is going to dominate the innovation space.

The nature of the technologies emerging from innovation labs around the world today is completely democratic, having the power to touch billions - the literate and the unlettered, the affluent as well as those at the bottom of the pyramid.

If the Indian innovators, tuned to the needs of the less advantaged in their country, are coming out with technologies to address this space, then large multinational corporations, admittedly driven by marketing compulsions, are also now focusing on this segment.
Most of these innovations have been in the field of IT. This is because of the international exposure the knowledge workers have got and their understanding of the enterprenurial spirit of the west. But it is quickly spreading to other domains as well.

Traditionally Innovation has been the preserve of the west. Availability of capital and the ability to take risks made them pioneers in consumer R&D. Since independence India's R&D was government driven and focusssed on basic sciences. A closed and socialistic economy with not much of a consumer movement didnt help either. The opening up of the economy in 1991 has brought with it consumerism as well as availability of capital. It was still a trickle in the early days but is now changing rapidly with access to internet and the blossoming of the knowledge economy.

Maybe Nandan Nilekani's famous demographic dividend, is finally beginning to pay off. Speaking of which he got away easy on my favourite show

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Nandan Nilekani
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor
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