In his review in the Business Standard (August 6, 2010), Subir Roy writes, "The author, a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, has undertaken a careful examination of the various facets of innovation. ….He examines the factors that promote industrial innovation, uses various measures to take stock of India’s current innovation status, and takes a detailed look at why India has failed to achieve its innovation potential, identifying the barriers to innovation. In the last chapter, he provides an agenda for India to move from jugaad — the rough and ready improvisation that has mostly passed for innovation till now — to systematic innovation."
FJ2SI was reviewed in the July 12 issue of the leading Indian business magazine Business India. A. Thothathri Raman writes that "the book is about how the Indian spirit of innovation can be channelised in a more systematic manner to build an industrial society."
If India is to move from jugaad to systematic innovation, universities and other institutions of higher education have an important role to play. I outlined an agenda for universities in my recent column in Edu magazine....
The June 2010 issue of Jet Wings (In-flight magazine of Jet Airways) contains a review of FJ2SI by Poornima Subramaniam. She writes that "...this book uses refreshingly simple language and is liberally peppered with case studies, examples, and data which help the reader to have a clear understanding of the thought."
I was in Pune on May 20-21, and had the opportunity to hear a number of new perspectives on innovation during events organised by NCL Innovations and the MCCIA. Some of the usual questions: To what extent is culture a barrier? Is our education system to blame? What should be the role of the government (this one always has polarised answers!)...but a few new ones as well. E.g. Is innovation always beneficial? Doesn't innovation add to ecological problems?....
Gaurav Dutta has reviewed FJ2SI for DNA newspaper. He writes, "For anyone concerned about the future of this country and wants to know how innovation will become the sole factor driving the Indian industry forward, this book is a must read. The book is rich with case studies and expert arguments and gives a good insight into the history of innovation in India, why India has failed to achieve its innovation potential and what can be done in the future."
From Jugaad to Systematic Innovation was cited in an article titled "Start-ups Revolutionise Techworld with Proprietary Products" by Archana Rai and Pankaj Mishra in the Economic Times on March 29, 2010.
Venture investor and entrepreneur Sanjay Anandaram has reviewed the book at WSJ Online. Sanjay writes, "While le there have been umpteen studies on Innovation in India including several pop-books on examples of breakthrough innovation in India, this is perhaps the first book that lists the critical ingredients required to generate sustained innovation."
Consultant and author Parmit Chadha has reviewed my book in Business Line on March 19, 2010. His conclusion is: "Overall, it's a good history of innovation in India, with a comprehensive and well structured look at many relevant studies. There are no punches pulled in some of the analysis and the suggestions are comprehensive. It would be good to have a sequel which explores some of the issues in greater depth."
Why is it that India is unable to be the source of major industrial innovations on a sustained basis even though it has highly skilled talent and a penchant for jugaad (creative improvisation)?
This book draws on social, cultural, political, economic and managerial arguments to explain this paradox:
Firms are the primary agents of industrial innovation. While the incentive for innovation by firms in India has increased after economic liberalisation began in 1991, the inputs (funding, trained people and basic research and development) for innovation by firms have not kept pace with firms’ needs. Nor has the capacity of firms to innovate.
Government’s efforts to enhance the availability of inputs to the innovation process have been ineffective because of the lack of a strategic and integrative vision, inadequate resources, and poor implementation. Professor Krishnan explains the government’s shortcomings in this respect in terms of the political economy of India’s innovation policy.
Firms have failed to build an innovation capacity because of issues of ownership and control, and a number of deeply embedded social and cultural barriers to innovation. These include poor teamwork, the enduring importance of upward hierarchical progression, and a weak systems and strategic orientation.
To overcome these problems, India needs to move from a paradigm of Jugaad (or creative improvisation) to one of systematic innovation. Specifically, India needs to (1) create a critical mass of new, innovative, technology-driven firms, (2) enhance the technological capability of existing micro, small, and medium enterprises, (3) transform large enterprises, (4) create a new incentive system for universities and other institutions of higher education, (5) continue and enhance the process of dynamic reform of public R&D organisations, (6) change the structure of government involvement in supporting industrial R&D, and (7) create supportive societal conditions for industrial innovation.
Replete with a strong conceptual framework, case studies, examples, and data relating to India’s innovation performance, this book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of Indian industry.