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Old 20th August 2014, 21:32   #1
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Default Why India fails in innovation? Anand Mahindra & Chanda Kochhar speak

Mr Anand Mahindra of M & M and Ms Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank talk and introspect as to why India fails in innovating. They talk about our education system, less investment in R & D, the socialistic mindset, inability to celebrate failures and so on. They also harp upon the fact that competition has made them more innovative. In fact M & M has reached the IIT's to help them innovate as Mr Anand says.

After the opening up of our automobile industry firstly in 1983, (allowing a few newer entrants like Vespa, Suzuki, Peugeot -the Sportif , Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki into partnership with our companies and the Joint Ventures, using Indo- Jap or Indo-Italian names and so on) the scene shook up.

Then in 1994,we had more players ( Ford, Opel, Daewoo and more) with the exclusive use of foreign brand names, but the foreign equity participation being limited and capped, with the Indian Joint Venture partners.

Lastly in 1999, it was with the infusion of full 100% equity by foreign players, that our automobile landscape witnessed a total metamorphosis from being dull and stagnant since the 1950's to becoming synergetic and dynamic during the recent decades.

Companies which were used to the sellers market like Automobile Products of India, Standard Motors, Scooters India Ltd, Premier Automobiles with some more and lastly Hindustan Motors have perished.

Our companies like Tata Motors (despite its lack of car sales lately) and Mahindra and Mahindra have done us proud by trying to remain competent with foreign players with their fighting spirit, developing competent products.

The points discussed by the two renowned honchos are quite relevant today and provide an insight into their thinking from the top level :


Last edited by Rehaan : 21st August 2014 at 16:25. Reason: As requested :)
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Old 20th August 2014, 22:09   #2
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Default re: Why India fails in innovation? Anand Mahindra & Chanda Kochhar speak

Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
M &M has reached the IIT's to help them innovation as Mr Anand says.

That probably is another hindrance to innovation? Why overlook Tier II and III colleges? It would be a grave mistake ignoring them! Some remarkable contributions in my domain (semiconductors) have been made by engineers and faculty from these colleges as well. Should be true, for all other domains

Nothing against IITs, but, as someone who regularly interviews and recruits from IITs, me and my colleagues have witnessed lack of interest in several batches of IIT'ans, to work on core areas where innovation is the key to survival! Their logic: growth is slow unlike management or finance careers, and there is no exposure if you are in the core tech areas! Nothing could be further from the truth!

Again, nothing against IITs, but there are equally good or even better options these days. I doubt if choosing true innovators could be as easy as going to some famous college and picking up the creme de la creme! Live projects in IITs are mostly overseen by the faculty, but executed by undergrads and the post grad students!

Unfortunately, engineering entrants these days are mass produced in an organized JEE industry, not too many of the successful candidates could be true innovators IMHO!

On the other hand, this is an interesting organization:


BHPians would find a lot of food for thought!

Last edited by lapis_lazuli : 20th August 2014 at 22:26.
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Old 20th August 2014, 22:25   #3
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Default re: Why India fails in innovation? Anand Mahindra & Chanda Kochhar speak

I volunteer teach kids from lower socioeconomic groups at a 10th Std SSC level Science and Math, a group of retired teachers and volunteers run this program.

I think the quality of educators today plays a huge role in moulding the minds of children and teaching them to think outside the box. I am barely qualified to teach these kids, but I'd like to think that I am doing a far better job than their schoolteachers, who do not encourage them to ask questions. They are told to learn answers verbatim from the books and the guides, in order to get the grades they need to make it to the famed top notch colleges, where they are told the same thing again, to the next educational grade, ad nauseum.

The inability to innovate comes from stifling creativity in children I believe, and stunting them to believe a thing can only be achieved in a particular way, a textbook prescribed way.

I'm sorry I went off topic with this response, while I love how Mahindra's vehicles namely the Bolero , Scorpio and Xuv have done splendidly in India, I feel there is much room for improvement in the building of an 'innovation friendly' brand in India.

A look around this forum, at the suggestions of people who are not all IIT educated or automobile engineers, shows the potential of ideas from outside the 'box' as it were.
My thoughts,

PS> Lapis_lazuli, very interesting link there, *nif.org*, thank you for it.
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Old 20th August 2014, 22:51   #4
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Default re: Why India fails in innovation? Anand Mahindra & Chanda Kochhar speak

Imagine this, I am from the Automotive Industry, did a Diploma in Automobile Engineering from K.S Polytechnic Bangalore, a BE in Automotive Engineering from Coventry University, UK, an MBA in Engineering Management from Coventry University too, I have many innovative ideas all developed while studying at UNI which have never been applied to any passenger car in the world and which could bring a very big positive change to a company which adopts it from the marketing as well as technological point of view, but but just because my campus is in UK and these companies in India only recruit through campus recruitment in India, I have tough time even getting an interview because of my campus being in UK and the interviews that I did manage to get myself into wanted people who could not think but just work as instructed. Don't know how does a building standing behind me or not change anything from the talent point of view.

When I present them these out of box ideas to automotive companies with all the technicals explaining their working and implementation to show them that I can think out of the box, sometimes they can't understand and sometimes they feel threatened and tell me that 'I should start something on my own' or work as a consultant etc etc and make every effort to dissuade me from joining the company.

From personal experience of struggling to find a job in the automotive industry since a year, I can tell you, Innovation and out of box thinking is not encouraged in the Indian Automotive Industry atleast, neither the companies want to do anything out of the box and neither do they want to take any step to do something hatke. They are happy with being 'okay', being best is neither their aim nor their culture.
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Old 21st August 2014, 02:12   #5
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Default re: Why India fails in innovation? Anand Mahindra & Chanda Kochhar speak

innovation appears to be a bit of a buzz word these days. Unless you clearly define what it is and how you measure it, it's difficult to have a sensible discussion about it.

Too often just fixing bad products is called innovation. For instance in this very article and I quote:

India did not innovate with the ATMs. But when we brought ATMs into India and made the machines talk in 15 regional languages to the people in rural India, we got millions of transactions on the ATM.
That's not innovation, that's just fixing a poorly designed product.

Irrespective of your definition of innovation I must say I do agree Mr. Mahindra observation that:

But many of the pillars of corporate success - hierarchy, repeatability, lowering the possibilities of failure - can end up killing the spirit of innovation.
Contrary to popular belief an individual can not "think out of the box". It's impossible, one knows what one knows. No less, no more.

What an individual can do is broaden his/her horizons. Look beyond your areas of expertise and explore new areas.

Out of the box thinking is a team effort and relies on the 1+1=3 principle. Bring a group of diverse people together and have them solve a problem. The more diverse (discipline, background, education, gender etc etc) the more likely they are to come up with something completely new (i.e. out of the box).

A lot of research has been published on successful innovative companies (whatever innovative means) and it always comes down to the culture and team work. Not necessarily formal education. Relying and valuing formal education is of course a cultural aspect as well. For instance, in my home country in most sectors formal education is not that big a thing. Having a Master over a Bachelor degree wouldn't necesseraly be a big thing.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Santa Fe Institute (http://www.santafe.edu) last year for a week. It's interesting to see and learn how these top scientist work together, how they form teams, how everybody is always talking to everybody, way outside their own particular field. And it brings some astonishing result in terms of innovation, scientific break throughs etc. Bear in mind that the scientific community is also extremely competitive. But at the same time everybody is supporting everybody and actively seeking each others help.

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