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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.

May - 2006 - issue > Protocol@Work

Innovation For The Sake of Innovation

Sridhar Jayanthi
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Sridhar Jayanthi
India is known for its large pool of smart technical talent. There is a positive emphasis on proficiency in English language and low cost. What is clear to anyone in the global software industry is that these traits will not be sufficient in the long run to maintain global dominance in software.

There are many things that we need to improve including the sophistication and size of local market for software, the university-industry-government collaboration, and the innovation culture of the software engineering talent.

Innovation means different things to different people. For some any new technical creation is innovation, for others it is an invention and yet others, it is achieving a patent. For a business to prosper, none of these definitions of innovation will satisfy unless it directly meets a customer need. Peter Drucker said, “The test of innovation lies not in its novelty, its scientific content, or its cleverness. It lies in its success in the market place.” In other words, innovation in the marketplace is being creative within boundaries of a business, with revenue goals. Invention usually relates to new markets, with no revenue goals upfront.

As a techie you can contribute to innovation and growth of your company by understanding your company’s distinctive competence – what are you known for, what is unique about you. It is important to understand your customer base – who buys your product, why do they buy from you and not your competition, and what problems are yet to be solved sufficiently for your customer. Some times this is obvious; some times it requires many visits to potential customers and partners before you understand the gaps in your solution. This is not always easy to achieve from India. Luckily there are many avenues that can be pursued:

Find a problem that is unique to the Indian market and solve it. It is much easier to understand the Indian market where we are located. This is more applicable to Indian start-ups and Indian companies that can focus on India. Ask your manager to give you opportunities to meet a few customers each quarter by joining a sales or support visit.

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