Where Are Indiaâ€™s Innovative Companies, Products and Solutions?
India produces some of the brightest minds in technology, science and medicine yet has not demonstrated any truly large scale and breakthrough innovations in those fields. more here
I mean…..why NOT fill the gaps?
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my long reply >>
You have covered a lot of points in your article. You have understood a lot about India, though at a very high level. This understandable because you have really live in India and really experience the culture inside/out
Let me cover a few points that I have observed –
1. Patents are not the only indication of innovation. Especially when the concept of Patent itself was a construct from the US and then spread out through the rest of the world. Lot of India entreprenuers are not ‘english speaking nor technology savvy’ that they understand ‘patent’. There is a lot of ‘crony entrepreneurs’ who have done some interesting things, amassed wealth for themselves and for their next 4 generations. They don’t pay taxes, hence don’t declare incomes, do business in black, bribing is common and are in bed with the corrupt politicians. Since my return to India I see much of wealth and growth coming from this sort of crony entreprenuership, leaving the rest of the either honest entrepreneurs or the underprivilegded to fend for themselves. They are never going to Angel investors to those who really need the money that could benefit the masses and really take India on a steady growth path.
2. Culture is a huge impediment. Indian culture of ‘deference’ based on age, gender, caste, religion is so deep rooted, that it will take enormous of ‘brain unwashing’ to really allow the younger generation to some free spirited idealism and innovation. Like some one else mentioned, there has to be a burning desire to do something, to make an impact. But if you have a large majority of 25 year olds in this country already becoming cynical and satisfied with what they have achieved, then you are not going to see innovation. Even the captive R&D centers are not able to capture more out of the talent because of ‘cultural problems’ with their engineers. Engineers will say yes to their managers or to the clients – whether it’s an infosys or a google-India.
3. Gender discrimination is still a huge problem. I see very well qualified women from even top institutes like the IITs/NITs who could potentially fill the gap in the ‘talent shortage’ staying at home either by choice or because the societal brainwashing. How can you create a diverse workforce if 50% of the intelligent population is being shunted into the 4 walls. Innovation thrives in diversity. Even in silicon valley, it was the european, india, chinese and japanese immigrants that pushed the frontiers of innovation.
4. Lack of angel funding and corruption will continue to be the biggest road blocks. I have known of entrepreneurs with very neat ideas in the restaurant and retail business struggling because of lack of funding, corruption in licensing etc. Even the most successful entpreneurs who are now millionnaires don’t believe in giving angel funding, but they would rather send money into their foundations because it gives them more tax breaks. That is also important but a few lakhs in angel funding by 100 individuals across the country could really benefit this country. Maybe if the government included tax breaks for high net worth individuals to invest as angels, we will really see more businesses coming out faster.
Let me just end for now.