Wednesday, September 14, 2011

India Innovation Summit- CII- Day- 1

Inaugural Session- "Making Bangalore the Innovation Hub of Asia"

  • Kris Gopalakrishnan, the Chairman of CII's Southern Region set the agenda by highlighting the unique position that Bangalore has as an innovation destination. With a proven record in IT/ ITES, the city also has a rich talent for biotech, aerospace and medical education and is a vibrant talent base with presence of various global companies. This ecosystem of collaboration helps connect the dots and with further support from government, the future holds promises of this city and the region. A case in point: in recent past, over 1.5 million jobs got created by the knowledge sector as again 200,000 by all other sectors, combined. The session further reflected on rate of change for India in next 20 years and the impact digital consumer citizens, pervasive computing and flattening of the world will have on new business opportunities. 
  • Ajay Nanavati, Managing Director of 3M India, reflected on Bangalore as a hub of serious innovation in the space of aerospace engineering and biotech. 3M happens to have India's largest R&D center and one of the fifth largest in the world, with the intent of leveraging this center for innovation for India and a hub to take innovation out to the world. The key for successful innovation in Ajay's view was to stick to the investment in good as well in bad times. 
  • Praveen Vishakantaiah, President of Intel Technologies India, furthered the discussion with insights on how various economic cycles help build innovation. There's also a call for innovation at times of low growth.
  • Sridhar Mitta, Managing Director of NextWealth Entrepreneurs, had a call for diverse talent and its role in promoting innovation.  Drawing on a research study conducted at the Stanford University, Sridhar talked about the Silicon Valley vs Bangalore- Israel- Beijing research triangle, concluding that the uniqueness of Silicon Valley may get dwarfed by the diverse talent coming in from this triangle. He concluded the session appealing that chaos is the best time for innovation to emerge. 

Bangalore as a Hub for R&D in Asia

  • Vivek Mansingh is the President, Communication & Collaboration Group at Cisco India, shared that Cisco spends over 4 to 5 million in R&D in India and has over 700 patents from here. The firm has created a conducive environment to perform number of innovation programs for developing products for emerging markets, such as Cisco Campus which is currently being used by Cisco in Bangalore. Vivek maintained that while education is the key the innovation, equally important ingredients are: talent, leadership, physical infrastructure and academia relation. Talking about leadership profile of technology talent- T-shaped competency and soft skills are to be looked out for. 
  • P Gopalakrishnan, Director of  IBM India Research Laboratory, stated that R&D in India is 'small r' and 'Big D', but tide is shifting slowly towards more focused research work. One instance being IBM doing remote mentoring - IBM pushes problems that university students can pick up and are assigned mentors - close to 200 people are mentoring teams of 3-4 students, such that it is scalable- and giving guidance on technology and presentation. Gopal also reflected on connecting Physical World to Digital World, e.g. real time traffic modeling, hence applying different tolls suiting Indian conditions.
  • Shouvick Mukherjee, VP and CEO of Yahoo! India R&D,  stated that India needs to transform itself from R&D-centric to Customer- Centric Innovation Hub. This calls for appreciation of market dynamics, insight about the unmet needs and designing a solution from thereon. Shouvick maintained that it's tough to figure out global needs as opposed to being influenced by Indian requirements. Some of the issues remain, such as, talent with domain expertise, people who can think of problems that haven't been solved, opening up to universities and above all- passion. One best practice shared was Hack Programs , where Yahoo! works with startups to benefit from what they are doing and allow the community to leverage Yahoo's platform. 

Bangalore – A hub for advanced engineering beyond IT

  • Ajay Nanavati, Managing Director of 3M India, started this session with the famous quote from 3M "Research is the transformation of money into knowledge. Innovation is the transformation of knowledge into money". He identified 7 habits of Innovation @ 3M, viz: Leadership committed to innovation; Maintain the corporate culture actively (spends 5 -7% on innovation); Broad base of technology; Networking for innovation; Set outstanding expectations and reward; Quantity efforts; and Get close to the customer (capture unarticulated needs and have high tolerance for failure). 
  • Sanjay MCorrea, Managing Director of GE's JFWTC talked about the focus of the Center on emerging markets, for instance the MAC 400 ultra portable ECG machine designed and developed here in India keeping in view Indian market. This has been a result of structured approach to capturing the Voice of Customer, which contributes to about 90% of contribution to any new innovation (10% being Blue Sky Thinking). In numbers, the center has $200m investment and 1,000+ patents filed. 
  • Venkatesh Valluri, Chairman of Ingersoll Rand, impressed upon building products through innovation convergence. The three phases of innovation as: Innovation through value creation; Innovation through convergence and finally Open Innovation.  Productivity earlier was about costs and now it is not about cost. More importantly when you want to reverse engineer and take costs out that is where productivity is seen. One of the best practices shared is: Entrepreneur creation program, where the firm hires talent, train them and then after two years send out so that they create business and IP. Their IPR teams then work to value IPs jointly. This calls for maturity and transparency within the company and in community.
  • Vijay Ratnaparkhe, President and Managing Director of Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, defined innovation as new product for Bosch. These could be invention driven innovations or opportunity driven innovations. He talked about nurturing the culture of innovation via systematic creation against specific challenges. 

Bangalore – A hub for disruptive innovation – A startup view

  • Sudhir Sethi, Founder and Chairman of IDG Ventures, started by highlighting the trend that domestic companies are buying Indian products and there's been a increased focus towards developing product for the Indian market. There's been over $ 3.3 billion of venture funding happened in recent years, of which 36% has gone to Bangalore. 
  • Mallikarjun Sundaram, President and CEO of Mitra Biotech, said that it's the ecosystem of companies that drove him to Bangalore from the US. Thought India gives an access to talent from domestic as well multinational firms, the funding market isn't that vibrant yet. 
  • Sanjay Nayak, CEO and Managing Director of Tejas Networks,  started with a stark fact that this decade India would be importing over $1 trillion of telecom and networking equipments, making it as one of the largest contributors of trade deficit. Coupled with this large market, India now offers experience in product lifecycle management and serious cost advantage. What ever is done in India is increasingly relevant to both developed economies as well other emerging economies, making this an opportune place and time. Strategy is to leverage domestic market to scale quickly.
  • Rohan Parikh, Head of Green Initiatives and Infrastructure at Infosys, threw light on Infosys' green initiatives. Instances being: Smart Devices allowing people to monitor and regulate energy consumption via sms, etc and other power saving technologies currently being developed and tested at Infosys.

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