Innovation – The New Economic Catapult

22 Feb 2019

In today’s world, businesses have only two choices: Innovate or perish. Some startling facts buttress this theory: only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies (ranked by total revenues) from 1955 were still on the list 62 years later in 2017. The others have either ceased to exist, have merged with (or were acquired by) other companies, or, still linger on but have been dislodged from the list of top 500 companies. Innovation is the core reason for the sustenance and prosperity of a company, especially in these changing times.

When the shift from the horse-drawn carriage to engine driven vehicles took place during the late 18th century, it totally transformed the world economy. There are many such examples of disruptive innovations around us. With time, the rate of technological changes too is increasing very rapidly. It is important for companies to understand the new and emerging business and societal challenges to sustain themselves in the longer run. Industry needs to keep abreast with game-changing scenarios and embrace them with innovative solutions.

Innovation has been defined by the European Commission as the commercially – successful exploitation of new technologies, ideas or methods by the introduction of new products or processes, or by an improvement of existing ones. Innovation is also defined as a process for measurable value enhancement in any commercial activity. The process can be a breakthrough or disruptive, incremental or iterative.

Innovation thus directly adds to the bottom lines of a firm by way of offering new products, processes, or delivery of services, or by enhancing user experiences, all targeted to improve the quality of life. Hence, innovation warrants commercialization of an idea to reach out to larger beneficiaries.

Disruptive innovation brings something ‘new to the world’ and hence is associated with higher business risk. On the other hand, incremental innovation introduces something ‘new to the market’ and thus is fraught with less risk elements.

Innovation always starts with an idea. As it takes shape, it can impact a large population. Hence, the first requirement of a thriving innovation ecosystem is to encourage minds to ideate and nurture them to their fruition. Governments in developed countries have a range of instruments to stimulate innovation by individuals and firms, and reduce their risk perceptions. Realizing the critical importance of innovation and its economic implications in terms of wealth creation and employment generation, the Government of India has launched major initiatives in the form of Start-up India, Skill India and Atal Innovation Mission.

A conducive ecosystem paves the way for entrepreneurial minds to unlock their potential and start new ventures, thus eventually creating a competitive environment. To re-imagine Indian innovation, India needs to boost its innovation ecosystem by mutual interface among various stakeholders like the Government, industry, academia and society, to transform India into an attractive innovation destination in the coming decades.

CII and Innovation

CII has been orchestrating a spectrum of initiatives towards creating and fostering innovation among Indian industry and promoting entrepreneurial ventures. To encourage industry to adopt a structured innovation framework in their operations and measure their performance on the way to moving up the innovation value-chain, CII launched the Industrial Innovation Awards in 2014. The innovation framework, as devised by CII, has been widely appreciated by industry and the number of applications for the coveted award has been increasing every year.

The 5th edition of the CII Industrial Innovation Awards 2018 drew 250 plus entries from large, medium and small and micro firms from all over the country. After an initial screening, 100 applications were shortlisted for on-site visits by the assessors for further evaluation by the jury. Finally, the top 25 innovations were presented to the Grand Jury for selection of the category winners. The top 25 innovations were awarded the CII Industrial Innovation Awards in a befitting ceremony in New Delhi on 3 December.

Some of the top innovations deal with the empowering farmers and the rural community, revolutionizing the telecom and dairy industry, digitizing logistics, and transforming age-old foundry practices.

CII initiatives in recognizing the top order innovations by the Indian industry are expected to go a long way in building a stronger economic foundation for the country.

Start-up Mission to Russia A CII Start-up delegation visited Russia to take part in the India Russia Start-up Summit on 11 December in Moscow, co-organized by CII, Skolkovo, the Indian Embassy in Moscow, and the Government of Russia. The delegation met Mr Aleksey V Pesoshin, Prime Minister of Tatarstan, in Kazan, and interacted with the Ministers of Information & Communication, and of Industry & Trade, Tatarstan. They also visited Innopolis and IT City in Kazan, and Technopolis Moscow, Technopark Slava, and Zyfra in Moscow. To enhance India-Russia bilateral innovation and entrepreneurship collaborations, CII proposed the soft-landing of Indian start-ups in Russian incubators like Skolkovo to mature their products/services/business models to cater to the Russian market, and similar soft-landing of Russian start-ups in Indian incubators.

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