Wednesday, September 14, 2011

India Innovation Summit- CII- Day- 2

Innovative Approach for Higher Education and Research

  • Rishikesha Krishnan, Professor of Corporate Strategy and Policy at IIM Bangalore, chaired the session and observed that Bangalore long had prestigious research institutions like the Indian Institute of Science and several Defense R&D laboratories. But it’s a new generation of relatively young institutions that have the potential to change the innovation landscape of Bangalore. In concluding the session, he observed the importance of integrity of purpose in building strong institutions - there can be no compromise on the core mission of the organization. The experts emphasized the importance of carrying people with them, and infusing a sense of purpose to overcome barriers. They felt that team work was imperative to achieve excellence, and to meet the high bar placed by international competition and societal expectations.  
  • Warren Greving, Director of Srishti Labs, observed that Design Thinking underlies translation of R&D to products and services. He is creating a research school that is part of a design school to design services back to industry, with the considerations being: 1) Importance of creating or recreating new organization; 2) Value of divergent and convergent thinking. Most of what we do is convergent but you need to mix both; and 3) Diversity in India should be a driver of creativity and india has a tremendous asset of it. Often vision needs to accommodate what others have. This would lead to a bigger vision. 
  • K VijayRaghavan, Director of National Centre for Biological Sciences (TIFR), made a call for non-linear research. He said that the British never intended the growth of science in India, and the early scientific leaders – Satyen Bose, JC Bose, Ramanujam, Raman and Meghnad Saha – were accidental geniuses, not the result of deliberate institutional outcomes. India climbed on the Science bandwagon after independence and set up a whole range of new institutions. But these institutions tended to stagnate unless propelled by visionary leadership. Again, success was inspite of, rather than because of, the system. Today, we are entering a new phase of institution building. The people attracted to these institutions have been trained at the best institutions in the world, and now its up to the new Indian institutions to help them achieve non-linear results. On creating a culture of innovation, he said that once you choose, explore the boundary. Leadership should be a lack of repression! Much of what it is now is repression. Another quality-  Don't compromise. This should be institutional.
  • Anurag BeharCEO of Azim Premji Foundation, gave background about Wipro's initiatives on education and the need to create organizational structures that are aligned with reality.  In his view, while we have thousands of schools and teachers, we have not created the education support infrastructure – experts in content, pedagogy, and delivery – that can help the school system deliver effectively. This is the gap that the two Azim Premji institutions seeks to close. Since we have a lag in this area, we often don’t have the resources readily available, and the challenge is to scale up through internal capacity development. A critical element of the APF philosophy is that the concepts and practice have to work closely together – all ideas have to be tried out in the field, not just restricted to academic writing.On people's working style, Anurag opined that Indians work differently. Here focusing on teams is very critical as firms can't afford to have distracting dynamics arising from personalities or credentials. It's the integrity of purpose that bind teams.

Innovations in Healthcare – Technology and Affordability

  • Ashwin Naik, CEO and Co-founder of Vaatsalya Healthcare, talked about his efforts in creating healthcare facilities in tier-2 and tier- 3 cities and how one needs to rethink of business models when doing business there. With mounting cost pressure, need is to think of services and not just new technology. Rural healthcare emerges as one of the greatest applications of technology, eg: Rural Kiosk. 
  • Arjun Kalyanpur, CEO of Teleradiology Solutions, spotted a huge shortage of radiologists in India, especially in rural parts and devised the teleradiology solution. Sighting instances of current installations and expansion plan, Arjun said that there is process innovation, but also needed is tech innovation, for eg mobility.  
  • Harish Lalchandani. Marketing Director - South Asia of Wipro GE Healthcare, warned that our problematic lifestyle is fast making India the cardiac, cancer and diabetic capital of the world. So stressing is the country's infrastructure. Availability, quality, and cost are the major challenges, so GE mandates that all of these challenges are met in their innovations. 

Nurturing Innovation - Country / Region Approach

  • Peeyush Ranjan, Managing Director, Google India R&D, defined innovation at Google to be "introduction of something new". The 10 rules of innovation from Google are: 1) Hire the best; 2) Empower them - speak up; 3) Put users first; 4) Have a well understood vision; 5) Value teamwork; 6) Share information; 7) Iterate; 8) Be data driven; 9) Provide an escape valve (20% time anyone can do what they need to do); and 10) Persevere (hard work). 
  • Neil Pollock, Head of Integrated Managed Services Business at Bharti said that nurturing innovation depends upon the way we educate our children. It's about how much you value innovation? It must not be platitudes. If you don't recognize, reward or prize it you will stifle innovation. The earnest thing for creating a culture of collaboration is trust and it's important to focus on retaining talent.
  • Paul Marchal, Director R&D of IMEC, said that India is in a great need of innovation, especially human-centric, top down, big multi-disciplinary initiatives. Caution- Don't think you are the smartest kid on the block, if you want to nurture innovation!
  • Deepu Chandran. Director of Innomantra, drew from his practice that even small companies are manage innovation well. Often firms expect people to innovate, but fails to tell how! So the result is chance innovation. Identified ingredients of innovation are: expertise, creative thinking and motivation. Innovation gets killed in firms when people don't know what to do with their ideas.
These were the talks made and insights shared. Now here's some more for you to ponder over:
  • Innovation is curiosity vs purpose, in balance
  • If a start- up is not internet delivery model we are ok, but where it has engineering component we are not there
  • In India, capital comes with advice but expert advice comes without capital
  • In India, many entrepreneurs do not have field experience at young age which is critical. This may likely end up in a prescription based model rather than a discovery based model for companies
  • Financing models are not aligned to cash flows in rural areas so innovation is needed in business model
  • Hire employees to be entrepreneurs, train them and cut them loose. But shelter them in corporate partnerships to incubate entrepreneurship 
  • Research is an enterprise activity, integrate centralised effort with dispersed field efforts

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