June 18, 2021 BWDisrupt (BusinessWorld)

Making India The Global Hub Of Innovation

His approach will not only enrich the Indian innovation ecosystem by helping our startups develop a global outlook, it will also harness the power of global innovation to create commercialisable breakthroughs for some of the big challenges confronting India.

Trade and commerce across the globe are swiftly adapting to tide over the pandemic, which has exposed the fragility of supply chains, and has forced companies to look at geographic diversification of their innovation and manufacturing hubs. Economies the world over are looking within to build resilient infrastructure and reduce dependency on external sources to avoid accompanying uncertainties. The scenario looks bright for countries like India, which are working towards increasing their domestic production capabilities and welcoming more people to join their workforce.

Even as the more traditional manufacturing sector steps up and starts to take advantage of these global shifts, a larger opportunity awaits the startup sector, which is known to be intrinsically innovation-led.

India has witnessed the rise of the innovation economy in the last few years. There are a number of factors that are driving this – increasing urbanisation, deeper internet penetration, evolving aspirations, new terms of trade and commerce, and rising demand for solutions to persistent problems, in order to make our lives more convenient and seamless. The startup ecosystem in India has been responsible for creating wealth and effectively contributing to the economy. The government has had a significant role in creating and nurturing the startup ecosystem, with the launch of the Startup India Mission in 2016.

A startup is uniquely placed to leverage the big innovation opportunity that lies ahead. It lacks the siloed structure that defines a large corporation, it has a mindset that is agile and adaptive, and a body language that is more collaborative than competitive. It is enthused by the idea of an alternative, unconventional approach for creating products at low cost, while ensuring product quality, supply stability and environmental sustainability.

India’s credentials are well established when it comes to IT services. However, to retain our competitive advantage, we need to upgrade our capabilities, and invest in higher order skillsets that specialise in AI, ML, Blockchain, and more. Innovative product development using these technologies will also result in greater value creation, both for the customer and the innovator. At the same time, innovation in applications based on IoT and embedded systems offer an exciting possibility beyond software as well.

We have seen that a significant part of bulk manufacturing in the traditional production hubs used to be for components with stable technology. But today, technology is changing at a super-fast speed, so India has the opportunity for using tech innovation to dramatically upgrade offerings, potentially opening up vast global markets.

There are many such areas. In IoT sensors, India could innovate to broaden communications protocols, increase security and lower power consumption, while lowering price points. In the electric vehicle space, battery and motor controllers could do with innovation-led increase in efficiency and price reduction. In the energy storage space, India could evolve its own alternatives to lithium-ion cells. In the healthtech domain, Indian startups have a big opportunity for innovation in devices meant for early disease detection. In ultra-capacitors, Indian innovation and manufacturing has the potential to make us a leading global player. We could aim to create our own range of high efficiency VLSIs for specific applications, which would reduce our dependence on imports, and enable Indian innovation to serve global markets.

In a world which seeks the best-in-class innovation, it is important to bear in mind that innovation could be either indigenous, or it could be the outcome of collaborating with the best global innovators. Indian incubators have the opportunity to curate suitable collaboration platforms between countries, a model that could be both synergistic and replicable. This approach will not only enrich the Indian innovation ecosystem by helping our startups develop a global outlook, it will also harness the power of global innovation to create commercialisable breakthroughs for some of the big challenges confronting India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Changing environment reiterating the need and importance of quick and reliable technology solutions in accordance with local needs.

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