Innovation Capitalism

India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Its propensity for innovation is apparent from a term widely used – jugaad. ‘Jugaad’ means an innovative idea for a resourceful improvisation. It is a land that hosts creative thinkers that have made place like Ralegan Siddhi a model for environmental conservation. By announcing newer reforms to combat economic decline, it has attracted foreign participation in investment. This serves as a helping hand for those waiting for such an opportunity.

To idealize India by saying it can become a stable country, is to ignore the fact that the problems it faces will never disappear in totality. It applies to other countries as well. Stagnancy of people’s wills to adapt will be the very obstacle in India’s path towards growth. Innovation capitalism will stimulate perturbation of attitude, reveal challenges for people to passionately work through. It will consequently provide the necessary employment. It changes the way we do things and change when embraced and worked upon can change our course to some place better. India’s high populace count not only translates into high consumerism but also into much needed power to fuel innovation.

Unwillingness of public is rooted in the lack of awareness of existing problems. It is therefore ignorance on the part of the people of the country when they fail to recognize the ramifications of extant issues. Power lies in the sheer number of people that reside in India. To use the willingness of such elephantine population is to help bring about the necessary change. A sense of thoughtfulness over the current scenario coupled with resource availability can help. Jonathan Rowson of the Royal Society of Arts says that our perception of waste is relative to our experience of scarcity. Along similar lines, without the screaming perception of exhaustibility of resources, the ground of innovation thus cannot be laid.

Unrealistic ideologies often weaken the grasp of reality. Some start-ups often take up a very good idea but fail to produce the desired results. This may be due to lack of transparency and effective communication, two among various other possible reasons. Out of desperation, some even start with a false purpose. When an organization turns a business idea into a fake social cause, it is sure to attract its own doom than true innovators. Starting with a false ideology will not help the idea to become a reality. Start-ups can do what huge organizations can’t and this is where their potential lies. They are flexible, adapt to changes apace and are unaffected by bureaucracy as much as bigger organizations are. They take in the middle-class that provides stability to the economy. Start-ups enjoy the freedom that many big organizations don’t. While venture capitalists and angel investors are in the limelight when it comes to start-up funding, personal loans and investments from friends and family make a huge share of contribution. Crowdfunding too works many a times. It is clear that ideas when given a chance and economic support can help strengthen the nation’s economy. Incentives and privileges are natural propellers. Albeit some individual inventors make their way to success, it is not easy ride for everyone. By easing and simplifying the infrastructure of the whole start-up process can go a long way for such individuals. This can be done by providing special assistance. It is the development of such entrepreneurial culture that will boost start-ups. Since India is a developing country, the scope for innovations and their gains thereby is visibly large.

Industrial pressure is a deterrent that is powerful. Yet it is not powerful enough if the model of innovation capitalism is to be achieved. Owing to pressure from the Endosulfan manufacturing companies, India was a laggard in banning the toxic chemical. If it had been done soon enough, it would have paved way for innovation of better and safe chemicals much earlier in time. Green chemistry is quickly catching up in India and is to stay. Some politicians fail to acknowledge the requisites and are reluctant to embrace new technologies. It is evident from their inaction in the case of pollution of river Ganga. To add to that is the ignorance of public, which when eradicated can drive these politicians to do what is needed to be done.

Sometimes regulations laid by the government are the only way out. Strict measures such as these have been effectively implemented in the past. Without the pollution act, companies would have continued with their business as usual. Regulations have played a huge role in encouraging creation of new technologies.

The growth of renewable energy sector and moreover the quick dive into it has made India the fifth largest country with installed windpower capacity. India’s dense population and its apt location on our planet have made it a fitting candidate for solar energy installations. National Solar Mission aims India to become a global leader in solar energy. The partisans involved in this mission will benefit from policy conditions needed for creating a conducive atmosphere for innovation capitalism. Hence, active participation of government is essential, in a direct or in-direct manner.

The millennial generation of India and elsewhere has different taste than the previous ones. They are inspired by cool things. Moral obligations often dampen their spirit. Instead, a real dialogue with them can help us tap their passion and help them become the inventors of our times. Today’s generation understands and respects gender equality and reciprocate well in such conditions. Understanding the mindset of the younger generation that constitutes a huge portion of India can aid the sustainability of innovation capitalism. Universities are a crucial part in the development of these budding youngsters.

Together, aiming at quality over quantity, India can become the most productive nations in this world. With most of the national workforce in agriculture, industries allied to this sector will benefit the most from the ingenuities pertaining to this sector.

Innovation makes business sense. If we realize this, India shall survive the economic downfall and continue to be world’s leading economies.

I wrote this essay as a response to question: How can “innovation capitalism” drive India’s technological and economic development? This was for the McKinsey Reimagining India Essay Project. Please feel free to comment on this down below in the comments section. To see the winning entries of this project, click here.

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