The Innovation Route to Development

March 1, 2020

The notion of Innovation is making strides in all spheres of economic and development activities in India. Given the size of its population of 1.37 billion which is slated to surpass China’s 1.43 billion by 2027, only to become the world’s largest, it deems to be essential. The mainstream thinking is to generate jobs, improve skills and livelihoods as well as address development challenges confronted by the country.

Innovation is an apt response to address these challenges. With initiatives, such as Startup India, Skill India, Tinkering Labs at schools other than establishing New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies (NEST) division at Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India among others, the scope of expanding innovation and entrepreneurship in India looks promising. However, it is going to be a daunting task to even mobilise the vital support, let alone helping entrepreneurs realise their full potential unless the Whole-of Government approach and efforts are backed by vibrant innovation ecosystems encompassing silos.

In this quest, it is required for India to not only develop wide arrays of such ecosystems but also integrate them globally to ensure greater flows of capital, knowledge, talent, and technology. In doing both, India can gain a lot from the US. The US has been an apostle of innovation and entrepreneurship for decades. Attributing the unparalleled might of the country to that spirit will not be an exaggeration. Not only did the US attract the best of the talents but ensured an enabling environment which in return helped the country remain on top of the innovation ladder. As a result, the US continues to be a progressive land driven by ideas, skills and collective efforts.

Silicon Valley in the country is touted to be the greatest ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. It enjoys being the global hub of emerging and disruptive technologies. Also, the US has the highest numbers of startup unicorns in the world, a startup valuing more the US$1bn, among many other such distinctions. Around four million Indian Americans have contributed remarkably (and continue to do so) for America to remain ahead of the curve. This is a strong foundation available for the two countries to boost comparative linkages and develop innovation ecosystems in India. Not only will that complement in scale but also aligns well with the newly construed level of partnership, i.e. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between the two countries.