extensive use of cloud, social media, mobility and big data to extend their direct influence to customers and value chain partners, the success of innovation through the creation of new companies and the transformation of large incumbent service providers will increase for Indian IT in the years to come.
This is not to say that other industry segments do not innovate. The well-documented cases of Sankara Nethralaya and Aravind Eye Hospital and their success in slashing the cost of eye care and recent examples of innovation at Apollo and other healthcare providers demonstrate the alacrity with which sheer necessity is breeding innovation as well as invention in services sectors. Manufacturing companies like GE globally and CEAT Tyres in India have used innovative shop floor and marketing ideas to rapidly change their image from being traditional and stodgy manufacturing firm to new customer-focused innovation leaders in their respective industry segments.
The Tata Group has been cited as allowing innovation exchanges through several platforms, one being an innovation competition called Innovista with a special award category called “Dare to Try” that recognises ideas that were tried but failed.
The erstwhile problem where research departments and public sector and even some private companies had large hierarchical structures impacting agility though bureaucratic processes that hampered change and hence innovation is being addressed by more suitable organisation models.
Ramadorai of TCS – now India’s Skills Czar – has been quoted as saying that while innovation is important, sometimes its importance can be over-emphasised and “operational efficiency and effectiveness” discounted. “While efficiency and conservation may not be sufficient to save India from a catastrophe, they are essential while we identify the additional innovations, enablers and boosts that will.” There is no doubt that the will to change exists in all companies as they face increasing domestic and global competition, across sectors and geographies – it’s just a question of finding the right models of innovation globally and adapting them to the Indian context.
(Dr Ganesh Natarajan is vice-chairman & MD of Zensar Technologies and a member of Nasscom's chairmen’s council and CII’s national council)