Thursday, April 12, 2012

3 Useful Insights on the Innovation Challenge

Three recent pieces in the media identify some of the challenges we face in moving from jugaad to systematic innovation.

In an interview to the Economic Times, M&M chief Anand Mahindra talks about the challenges in building a world class R&D facility, and points out that the success of M&M's new R&D centre in Chennai will be core to M&M's dream of becoming a global leader in the automotive industry. I really liked his observation that the days of Jugaad are over, and we now need to build genuine technology capabilities. Thanks, Mr. Mahindra.

Sunil Khilnani, the brilliant author of The Idea of India wonders aloud whether we should be focusing on building great universities rather than a whole lot of mediocre ones. His argument is that the world's leading universities have been the most enduring engines of innovation over the last few hundred years. My own take is that its no longer a matter of "or" but one of "and" - we need to build great universities, and do a lot of other things too.... and at a pace much greater than we have seen in recent years.

Soumyanetra Munshi, a young and bright colleague of our's at IIM Bangalore, draws attention to the importance of society recognising its researchers and creative people. In a critical review of Manu Joseph's Serious Men, she argues for greater societal support for scientists involved in basic research.

Three thought-provoking articles to chew on!!

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