Innovation is a process to achieve measurable value enhancement in any commercial activity, through introduction of new or improved goods, services, operational and organizational processes. It is a significant factor in facilitating competitiveness, improvement in market share and quality as well as reduction in costs.
The lack of infrastructure support for innovation in India is a key stumbling block, says WorldTel chairman Sam Pitroda who is also heading the National Knowledge Commission. Keeping this in mind the Government of India has proposed an Innovation Act for the Country. The proposed legislation would focus on three primary areas of importance to maintain and improve innovation in the 21st century which are increasing research investment, strengthening education opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school, and developing an innovation infrastructure.
A survey by the National Knowledge Commission has revealed that Innovation Intensity (i.e. the percentage of revenue derived from products/ services which are less than 3 years old) has increased for large firms as well as small and medium enterprises. The strategic prioritization of innovation as a factor critical to growth and competitiveness has also achieved significant prominence since the start of economic liberalization in India.
The most critical external barrier for both large firms and small and medium enterprises is however skill shortage arising out of lack of emphasis on industrial innovation, problem solving, design, experimentation, etc in the education curricula. There is also need for more effective collaboration between industry, universities and R&D institutions. Systematic reform of the higher education system (including skill based marketable vocational education) in India is essential to develop the required intellectual capital as well as generate effective synergies among industry, government, the educational system, the R&D environment and the consumer.
Innovation is a complex activity that requires widespread interaction across the entire economy, from the grassroots to the large firm level. The Knowledge Commission has recommended that there is a need for a comprehensive campaign to address these issues and to spur efforts to make India a global leader in Innovation. Important initiatives taken include :
Business incubators are programs designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services, developed and orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the incubator and through its network of contacts. Incubators vary in the way they deliver their services, in their organizational structure and in the types of clients they serve. A list of technology business incubators in India is available at the NSTEDB website.
|National Innovation Project
The Government of India alongwith the World Bank is launching a National Innovation Project which would improve and expand the ongoing innovation initiatives as well as introduce new initiatives for higher impact on growth and poverty alleviation by strengthening innovation as a driver of productivity and sustained growth in India.
The Project would look at strengthening innovation management and capacity building for strengthening the IPR system, provide support to SME’s for research leading to innovation and new technology development and strengthening technology commercialization. The preparatory work for the project is being coordinated by TIFAC
The Ministry of Science & Technology has set up a Working Group at FICCI to prepare the Draft Legislation for an “Innovation Act” to spur innovation in India. The Innovation Act would take cues from similar laws which are in place in US, Brazil, China and other parts of the world. The new law would focus on three primary areas: increasing research investment, strengthening education opportunities in maths, science and technology and developing an innovation infrastructure.