Subba’s Serendipitous moments

February 10, 2007

Innovation — Are Indians claiming credit too soon?

Filed under: India,Innovation — Subbaraman Iyer @ 5:08 pm

Sharad Sharma in his blog discusses the IT innovation landscape in India. As someone from the IT/ITES sector I do agree that there has been innovation around service delivery. The clear Global delivery model and offshoring are legitimate Indian innovations. There also has been innovation on a limited scale (well we can always debate the size and extent of scale) in many other areas as well.

My only disagreement with his post is that in keeping with the current trend of feel good factor about India, there seems to be a tendency to overblow India’s attributes, rationalize Indian behavior and work ethic and claiming credit when it is not appropriate.

The "jugaad innovation" is one such attempt. A short term improvisation which is clearly unsustainable and is done superficially gets credited as innovation, and we provide it with a new tag. There is a tendency to just fix problems as they arise by providing patch work solutions, because there’s very little thinking aound developing a process.

There also is the Indian work ethic where people feel heroes for solving problems– problems which are so easy to anticipate and eliminate in the first place. Solving such problems gives them an aura of being macho, of indispensability. And surprisingly, little credit is given to people who anticipate problems.

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