What does Innovation look like in India?

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https://www.gostatewide.net/marderos/668 Innovation is emerging as one of the most important rubrics in the discourse on how to bring about greater and more consistent economic and social development in India. One observes steadily growing investments in R&D across the country, the setting up of national and state innovation bodies, as well as the introduction of government-sponsored innovation funds. There have also been several conferences and debates on innovation and how to best promote and accomplish it in India, and a number of articles on the subject, written for both formal publications (newspapers and magazines) as well as more informal platforms like online forums and blogs.

rencontre france gratuite Academic engagement and Indian authorship on the subject has also exploded the last five years. A book search for “Innovation in India” on Amazon yields 790 results. Despite widespread agreement on the importance of innovation in India, there are wide gulfs between different conceptions of innovation and on the path India that should take towards securing benefits through investments in innovation.

next page Many Indian conversations around innovation begin by talking about jugaad, that uniquely Indian approach to making a joint, or temporary fix when something complex, like an automobile or a steam engine stops working. Initiatives like Anil K. Gupta’s Honeybee network have been started in recent times in order to document and promote the many jugaad-driven rural innovations across India. However, many observers have pointed out that while jugaad is certainly innovative, it is a response to the lack of an innovation culture — more a survival or coping mechanism at a time of need than a systematic methodology to effectively address a wide-ranging, complex set of problems.

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On India’s Innovation Path: Where is it Leading?

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more information Over at 3quarksdaily, our own Aditya Dev Sood wrote a thought-provoking (if somewhat rambling) article on India’s Innovation Path. He talks about how discourse around innovation in India is still at a very preliminary stage, and so far has been largely centered around jugaad and frugal innovation. Aditya argues that, while these may constitute “a first, necessary, and preliminary phase of innovation from India,” there is a need for more systematic and higher-order forms of innovation.

These require more sophisticated approaches than the ad hoc jugaad approach: they necessitate a deep understanding of human behavior, social interaction and everyday practices. Knowledge of these, he argues, can be gained through ethnographic processes, especially using visual and design oriented approaches. The information collected in this way then has to subjected to thorough design analysis, so that meaningful solutions can be designed, tested and finally implemented.

This systematic, highly-intentional approach to innovation is pretty much diametrically opposite to the adaptive, improvised jugaad approach. So what is the way forward for innovation in India? We can’t possibly disassociate ourselves from the culture of jugaad that has thrived for ages and will probably continue to flourish, but there should be a simultaneous move towards more systematic processes. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive since the creative skills and capacities needed for both methods are very similar. Maybe the answer is that we should embrace both approaches, and invite experts on jugaad and frugal engineering to collaborate with those attempting more systematic innovators. Perhaps that could be the best way to tap into the incredible creative capacities of our jugaad experts, but channel them into a more intentional innovation strategy? Comments welcome.