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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Closing India's Innovation Gap: Re-igniting the Spark of Creativity in a Consumption Economy

Vishwas Nair
Monday, January 2, 2012
Vishwas Nair
Innovation is finding something which is of value to our society. It can be done by research that solves an unknown problem and hence changes the method one might have previously perceived. Throughout industrialization, innovation has been the life to development of products that standardized and improved the conditions of living. These products of innovation could vary from the development of the internet to much simpler yet useful products like a Mach3 Razor. These products have changed the way we live and operate one way or the other.

India has been in the forefront of innovation for a long time now and is witnessing fundamental changes in the industrial setup. India, especially in the electronics sector has seen tremendous changes. For example, the semiconductor industry is booming and flourishing the world markets. It is important for us to recognize and work through this industry in order to keep this strong image going. World leaders have immense confidence and have given us enough insight into the semi conductor market as to where the real potential lies and what needs to be done to augment this reality.

The thought that comes to our minds is that when we have such a large proportion of imports, what are the trends that will address this perceived innovation gap. A lot of innovation happens at the interface with the consumers. Few people, who have been in the industry for over a decade debate saying an innovation made for the new market, try to define conventional wisdom we could reserve as a next step. “The question is, how we launch it in the market and at what price points we do it. And also continue to match the price erosion that is driven from China and Korea,” asks Vinay Shenoy, MD for Infineon Technologies. Is it impossible? Definitely not, as we have the same set of people where the supply chain of people is predominantly located.

Innovation is a national phenomenon because we cannot have a few individuals to close the gap. It has to be priority for the country. A Draft policy called the National Electronics Policy was recently announced and this draft facilitates setting up of Semiconductor Wafer Fabs and its eco-system for design and fabrication of chips and chip components. It also provides market access for domestically manufactured electronic products including mobile devices, SIM cards with improved features which have special emphasis on Indian products for which IPR reside in India. This could in turn address strategic and security concerns of the government consistent with international commitments. The draft reported that it proposes to achieve a turnover of $400 billion by 2020 in the electronic system design and manufacturing sector. This would also involve employment of around 28 million people at various levels.

In order to achieve this kind of development, we need to take these small initiatives and work on developing the skills, engaging with local requirements through the innovation, we can achieve quite a bit. “It is important to make sure that innovation is creating a commercially successful business for which we need to identify some of the verticals and focuses on creating the complete solution rather than solving just a small portion of the puzzle,” said Guru Ganesan, MD, ARM India Operations. Hence, we need to have a complete ecosystem to create and ensure that it is an automated electronics industry only then we would be able to see a complete solution in that sector rather than that small segment. The determination of these verticals need not be all done at the same time but instead we can eventually make it happen.

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