As India completes 73 years of being a republic and having its constitution, we are at crossroads again. Today, there is a dire need to take things into our hands, and “be the change that we want to see”.
Throwback to 2019, as always, when Indians were comparing India to developed nations and wondering the answers to “Why can’t we have the same roads, facilities, pollution-free environments, and professional opportunities?”, a pandemic struck the country.
The focus shifted from India’s growth to India’s survival. And when digitalization came into the picture, from e-learning to OTT platforms from entertainment, we adopted it.
Why should we not fear innovation?
Innovation led most of the country’s population equipped with resources like the Internet and electricity to a safer space. But there are still limitations, which are rising from the thought, “to change or not to change.”
Well, if pandemic has not answered that for you, I would like to quote, Steve Jobs
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.”
These developed countries have grown because they embodied the spirit of this quote. Jobs founded Apple in 1976 in America.
Innovation is not a “New” concept
Now, we don’t have to go back that much, but just a couple of decades back in the 90s in India. Would be wrong to say that the thought “I can view any movie, anywhere, at any time with just a few clicks on a device that is hands-free” was amusing at that time.
Hands-free, as this term transitioned into mobile, and eventually smartphones, we became living examples of witnessing innovation through decades.
So, innovation is not some sort of the Pandora box that we have opened now. It has been existing but gaining eyeballs now in India.
The reality of India at this point and time is that it is going through a pandemic with the world, employment opportunities have been lost due to the same, and at the same time, a new chapter of the digital revolution has been incepted.
At times like these, it is more than crucial to leverage the power of Innovation.
But is every innovation value-adding to India?
This question is what I believe, all Indians should ponder upon. As I mentioned, digitalization. From Google to Netflix, there are several forms of innovations we consume today that benefit foreign economies.
I quoted Steve Jobs earlier. Apple smartphones are some of the most popular phones in India and indeed a status symbol. 2020, the year when India went through a recession due to a pandemic, is when Apple celebrated the best year in the country with 60% growth in the shipment of phones in India. Apple shipped 3.2 million smartphones to India, in 2020.
On the other hand, we have players like Oppo and Vivo taking the rest of the share of the market with mid-ranged and affordable phones, again innovative value-adding products, but none from India.
In hindsight, the money is going out of the Indian economy.
Innovation, As A Tool to Empower India
So, they what should we do, stop using Netflix, Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Vivo, Oppo, etc?”
Well, until we create some answers, the answer remains no!
By creating answers, I simply, mean innovation. Innovation that favours the Indian economy. So, the money will eventually be staying in India.
Being a nationalist at heart, I have taken several professional and personal choices with the same mindset. I believe, it is high time, Indians, with innovation, as a tool, add value to the country, for the country.
Education and Brain Drain
Another aspect of Innovation in education. Education is key to how we grow as a society. While India stuck with its traditional ideas of education, developed countries like the USA was producing start-ups in the garage in the 1990s – the dot com era.
Today, we are witnessing a change as governments try to promote entrepreneurship or a more practical approach in the curriculum through projects. But the truth remains that these efforts remain useless if these people are working for foreign companies, in and outside of the country.
Brain drain is the reality of India. Today, many of the Indians celebrate that all the top-most technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and even companies like Channel, are led by Indian-origin CEOs.
The point remains, why not have the people here and create opportunities, products, and companies that are at par with what the others are offering, but in India. So, a data analyst or CEO from India offer their value-adding solutions in exchange for the betterment of other economies across the world.
Start-ups, The Trend Has Started!
Indian economic route has transformed over the past decade. Locking back, in 2012, we would witness the laying of the foundation of today’s several billionaire dollars valued Indian start-ups. We have witnessed several Indian entrepreneurships mapping the country’s requirements and delivering a “Made in India” solution for the same.
But, like any other success, I would like to tell young entrepreneurs, that reaching a stage where your start-up is a success and retaining is as difficult. There is no rosy path ahead. And it should be done with the same consciousness you had while innovating the solution as an Indian. Let me give you an example:
Flipkart, the Indian counterpart of Amazon, was founded by Indians, led by Indians, and doomed by Indians.
Start-ups must take serious learnings from Flipkart. The Founders gave up pieces of the company time and again when funds were needed, to a point where the whole company today, is owned by Walmart.
In August 2018, Walmart, the US-based retail chain Acquired 77% of controlling stakes in Flipkart.
How will innovation drive the Indian Economy towards Faster Growth?
“Innovation no longer remains a choice but has become an imperative.” - Narendra Modi.
This is one of many innovative quotes by Mr Modi and as a republic where he has been chosen as representative of the country by the citizens, his efforts like Made in India can become help the Indian economy grow. Entrepreneurs who identify with this idea will lead the change that will allow India to grow multi-fold. Today’s generation of entrepreneurs of any age, should come forward as pioneers in the innovative economy, emphasizing innovation in business and entrepreneurship, also entrepreneurship and innovation.