Thursday, May 8, 2008

Innovation ecosystem in India

I have written about my fascination for “ecosystem view” in an earlier post on “technical leadership ecosystem”. Being an entrepreneur myself and a student of innovation management, my eyes become big when someone presents a dashboard for innovation ecosystem.

Well, one such dashboard is indeed presented in a report titled “NASSCOM-BCG Innovation Report 2007” (see the executive summary PDF at the bottom). The report is focused primarily on IT-ITES industry (no surprise as that is what NASSCOM’s focus area is). It addresses 3 aspects of the innovation agenda: (1) factors that form a powerful imperative for innovation agenda (2) the firm level agenda and approach; and finally (3) recommendations to expand and rev up the innovation ecosystem in India. It is the last aspect that caught my attention first. It depicts following view.

Before we interpret the dashboards, let’s look at what the 5 dimensions stand for. As the picture shows, the 5 dimensions stand for (1) Government (2) Industry bodies (3) Firms (4) Educational and research institutes (5) investors.

Top row shows innovation ecosystem of India, Cuba, Singapore and Israel. The bottom rows shows that of Germany, Eureka, Taiwan and Silicon valley. Among all the exhibits, India happens to have the poorest ecosystem while Silicon Valley has the most robust one.

Look at the data from Eureka (exhibit number 5, second from left on the bottom row) which is a loosely coupled inter-governmental initiative in Europe. Eureka has 35 member states and EU countries as full-time members. It has 11,000 partners from industry including 40% SMEs, research centres, universities and national administrators. It currently has 600 innovative projects underway with budget of Euro 1.8 Billion and since inception, Euro 24 Billion have been raised and 1,800 projects have been completed – amongst them were airline e-Tickets and digital radios.

Well, what do I see when I look around? First, I feel that things aren’t that gloomy. I attended 2 barcamps on innovation in the last 4 months (one in Mindtree and the other in Wipro) and each had 100+ participants from at least 2 of the ecosystem elements: Firms and educational institutes. All my company’s financial reports get submitted to Registrar of Companies (ROC) online with digital signature. I book my airline and railway tickets online (indicators that government is not idling). “StartupCity”, a VC summit organized Smart Techie to be held on 24th May in Bangalore has at least 20 VCs signed up. Two of my engineering classmates started their technology startups in incubators set up in IIM Bangalore and IIT Mumbai. 4th India Innovation Summit will be held in Bangalore in June.

Did I say we have “arrived”? However, the lead indicators look good at this point.


  1. The article you wrote is really interesting and you analyzed the facts so well.As you stated through image that Among all the exhibits, India happens to have the poorest ecosystem while Silicon Valley has the most robust one.I never knew this.Thanks for information.