BusinessWeek on Innovation in India

BusinessWeek Senior News Editor Pete Engardio was in Bangalore on his return trip to USA from China trip on May 14, 2005.

Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder Mindtree had assembled about one hundred “Mindtree Minds” and invited eight of us to share our views on Innovation happening in India. This included Dr Arun Chandavarkar, President, Biocon, John Kuruvilla, Chief Revenue Officer, Deccan Aviation, S Sadagopan, Director, IIIT-B, Srini Rajam, CEO & Founder, Ittiam, Ashok Soota, President, Mindtree, Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Dr Bob Hoekstra, CEO, Philips Software India and Swaminathan Krishnan, Chief Marketing Officer, Sasken.

It was an interesting evening with presentations going from 7pm to 9pm and Q & A going up to 10:10pm. Cutting across the industry is the streak of innovation made possible

    by Government keeping a safe distance for individuals to get some innovation space,
    Internet providing access to information, others’ views and experiences and
    IT industry success giving confidence for youngsters that there are jobs and there is some money in the pocket to take risks.

Biocon driving pharma-biotech to new heights thru innovation in the form of earning thru generic pharma manufacture and investing for future earning in R & D to reach global leadership

Deccan Aviation story was so compelling, with a vision of “Udupi Hotel in Aviation” model, brutally cutting cost through innovation, not fighting with other airlines but chipping into Railways, looking at the Billion customers who have never flown in India

IIIT-B talked of innovation in Management (Private Public Partnership), scale (150 M Techs in 1999 that exceed the combined production of CS M Techs across 4 IIT’s), globalization (US, European, Asian partnership) and cost cutting (7 staff compared to 300 elsewhere), Alumni involvement (at least one Million Rupees every year from the third year onwards)

Ittiam talked of leadership and brand building in DSP IP space (that they had achieved within three years!)

Mindtree started as consulting house value at coding costs, a compelling value proposition, amazing organization, and sharp customer focus.

Narayana Hrudayala had cost innovation; bringing ECG price from Rs 30,000 to Rs 5,000, by combining scale, software un-bundling and creation of Health City in Bangalore and Hyderabad with 5,000 beds in a single location that makes heart care affordable to one and all (solution is a solution ONLY IF it is affordable)

Philips Software in India evolving into “innovation” campus with product ownership and technology leadership in all areas of consumer electronics where Philips is the global leader (DVD and TV)

Sasken creating niche in V.34 modem space and ADSL modem space owing the “complete stack” and “influencing emerging standards”

Pete had some insightful questions for the panelists

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