We know it is high time to accelerate innovation now – from agriculture to space technology and everything in between. Or you have the choice to be left behind. But important this is to not just innovate. But support, help, guide and promote when someone tries to bring a change for the better.
Why Innovate and Disrupt
Innovation is a change for the better that is usually cheaper, better, faster and efficient. Whatever be the means of innovation- a simple difference in a way something is done, or the application of latest technology, the ultimate goal is the same – in other words – an improvement in cost, speed, quality, usability, accuracy and efficiency.
We Indians have not been usually well known to produce new intellectual property, new discoveries, new inventions or new products.
Students – take a drastic step ahead – stop thinking only about good marks, a prestigious educational institute and a great job. Stop being a machine. Stop yourself from becoming one of those uncountable numbers of ‘staff’ or ‘managers’.
Create Solutions, Wealth, jobs
Create intellectual property with your disruptive solutions. The best time to start is right after your education when you are young and armed with peak knowledge.
Prepare to invest time, prepare to fail – again and again. There is nothing to loose. You can always look for a job anytime. But if you succeed you have a golden period ahead.
Nothing succeeds like that kind of success. We need youth to end the vacuum of innovation in this country. Why can’t we be the next Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Eesha Khare, Vijay Shekhar, Michael Dell, Jack Andraka or many such. If not as good as them we could come quite close if we have the passion to achieve. Generate millions of jobs, not waiting for government jobs.
India needs innovation to improve employment, food, shelter, safety and better quality of life for its burgeoning uncontrolled population. We cannot take pride in numbers like saying our railways transport the world’s largest number of passengers. The pride should be in the quality of life and quality of services. Unfortunately we are decades behind even in ensuring basics like good roads, civic facilities and safety. And across the world, there are less jobs for immigrants now. It will be a disaster if increasing unemployment causes people to poor wander into crime, arson or drain government treasury for freebies.
An economic crisis in the making
Take the example of agriculture. Over 60% of our population depends on agriculture while the returns from agriculture are going down everyday. It immediately and necessarily needs innovation to produce high yields at lower cost, withstand environmental vagaries, reduce dependence on manual labour, increase organic methods and give consistent yields. We are soon heading towards a food and poverty crisis as farmers abandon agriculture to turn to suicide or labour while causing a food shortage on the other hand.
With all these problems in hand and an agriculture based society, how many devices or instruments have we created to reduce human dependence ? How much per acre cost have we been able to reduce ?
Why haven’t we able to give it back to our global customers which have supported us for so long and have became the highest contributors to our prosperity with their machinery, equipment, devices and products?
Even in the information technology industry that has created most wealth for young Indians, the greatest mass of our ‘staff’ still mostly ‘execute work’ that comes from industries in rich countries. This is our bread and butter – which goes up or down based on how good those industries are doing, or on the political decisions of their leaders. The later part is clearly evident now as the world’s greatest and powerful economies are becoming more and more conservative and protective of its own people and closing doors for ‘outsiders’.
And we still buy almost all software or hardware from other countries. After over 2 decades of being through IT business, why have we not been able to innovate and create any new significant intellectual property, technology, operating systems, products or solutions of our own at home that can differentiate us from competition ?
I believe our priorities for research and innovation are :
Quality of content, accessibility, cost.
New software, hardware and network infrastructure, comprehensive business solutions.
Robotic manufacturing, higher throughput, better quality, lesser cost, lower usage of fuel and environment produce, lesser emissions, reduce pollution.
Solutions to reduce plastic usage, increase green cover, water conservation, alternate sources of energy.
Smart cities with high levels of access to civic facilities, home delivery solutions, home automation, better healthcare, safety, disaster prevention and recovery.
Increase yield, reduce human dependency (low cost machines to replace labour), sustain environmental vagaries ( improve flood and drought resistance), enhance storage and shelf life.
How to avert the crisis ?
Do our family, institutions and society promote change or innovation? Are there more people around awaiting to see us fail than succeed when we break free to innovate ? Is our society too risk averse ? Has being a ‘job holder’ or ‘subordinate’ got so ingrained in our culture, possibly from being babus to our colonial rulers, that a job is our life’s greatest goal ? Is innovation or setting up a new business left only to those who have loads of surplus cash, or those who ‘don’t want to work under someone’ or those who haven’t been able to get a job after a struggle ? Will we ever succeed with this attitude ?
To be able to even match up with the fast moving world, innovation has to be among top career preferences. Schools and colleges should also build this attitude and enable young minds to experiment freely. Our families, educational institutions and organisations should transform to support innovation and research. It should not be dead after a final year project. People should trust, encourage risks, accept failures and while continuing to provide patronage. And shouldn’t look at all new products with suspicion until so long that it can no longer sustain.
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. Those who are still not seeing the necessity are not seeing a crisis coming soon.
All the best for you all to start innovating. You are starting soon, aren’t you?