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India as a Pioneer of Innovation

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India as a Pioneer of Innovation
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Item Code: NAR879
Author: Harbir Singh, Ananth Padmanabhan and Ezekiel J. Emanuel
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9780199476084
Pages: 250
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.44 kg
About the Book

What does innovation mean to and in India? What are the predominant areas of innovation for India, and under what situations do they succeed or fail? This book addresses these all-important questions arising within diverse Indian contexts: informal economy, low-cost settings, large business groups, entertainment and copyright-based industries, an evolving pharma sector, a poorly organized and appallingly underfunded public health system, social enterprises for the urban poor, and innovations for the millions. It explores the issues that promote and those that hinder the country's rise as an innovation leader.

The book's balanced perspective on India's promises and failings makes it a valuable addition for those who believe that India's future banks heavily on its ability to leapfrog using innovation, as well as those sceptical of the Indian state's belief in the potential of private enterprise and innovation. It also provides critical insights on innovation in general, the most important of which being the highly context-specific, context-driven character of the innovation project.

About the Author

Harbir Singh is the Mack Professor of Management, the co-director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation, and the vice dean of global initiatives at The Wharton School, Pennsylvania, USA.

Ananth Padmanabhan is a technology and policy fellow at Carnegie India, New Delhi, and a doctoral student enrolled on non-resident status at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, USA.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel is the vice provost for global initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and the chairperson of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.


Ancient Indian civilizations, particularly the Indus Valley civilisation and the Mauryan Empire, have earned widespread recognition and fame for path-breaking innovations in spatial design and significant advances across diverse fields, such as mathematics, science, and astron-omy, made during these periods. What is less known is the range and diversity of innovation in modern India. Since economic liberalization in 1991, there has been a surge of innovation in India, driven by entre-preneurs, corporations, and public-private partnerships (PPPs). Former president, Pratibha Patil, declared the decade of 2010-20 the Decade of Innovation', with a vision of innovation as the engine of inclusive eco-nomic growth for all Indians. The National Innovation Council, along with smaller state innovation councils and sector innovation councils, was created to encourage and support innovation across India's regions and industries. The most visible examples are in the category of 'frugal innovation', where a variety of products and services, available around the globe, are offered for a fraction of their cost and of a similar quality. There are other innovations as well, such as the use of economies of scale to drive down cost and develop entirely new business models for services such as wireless telephony. Another area of innovation includes new models of healthcare service and delivery developed for India that have spawned innovations in higher income developed economies. Finally, 2010 onwards, India has witnessed a surge in the technology start-up space, with more than 3,000 of them endeavouring to disrupt traditional models of business across areas as diverse as food delivery, airline ticketing, fashion retail, and competitive exam preparations.

There is no better time than now, therefore, to map the innovation space in India, and to understand the background conditions that have spurred on and, at the same time, hindered the innovative potential of a nation that accounts for more than a billion in human population. This book-a collection of narratives about innovation in India-aims to live up to this task. Since Independence, India has emerged as a vibrant economic power and a global leader in the international arena, and yet it continues to suffer from chronic problems such as inadequate infrastructure, overpopulation, environmental degradation, and mass poverty. In addition, India is a complex landscape with diverse customs and practices and little consensus on even basic needs and priorities. The bureaucratic red tape and inefficiencies that came along with the pervasive State presence from 1947 into the liberalization era of the early to mid-1990s have contributed, in no small measure, to the stultifi-cation of innovative potential. At the same time, with a burgeoning and young population-with a median age of 27 and with 30 per cent under 15 years-India presents a very large future market and workforce in all domains (National Commission on Population 2006: tables 17 and 18). In India, innovations are difficult to implement, yet all the more impor-tant because of their transformative potential. Overall, Indians have an optimistic view of innovation, but this is qualified by the real constraints that entrepreneurs, government, and leaders face as they lead India into the future. This book highlights these paradoxes and contradictions, identifying problems and offering solutions along the way.

The book, drawing from an interdisciplinary conference organized by the University of Pennsylvania,' examines the ways in which India addresses its challenges through innovation. Unlike existing literature in which innovation practices are narrowly defined within the business sector, this book provides a broader discussion of innovation by focusing on systemic and sectoral innovations spearheaded by a range of actors, from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and firms to govern-ments, courts, and grassroots communities. In short, this book focuses on innovation within the Indian society by all its significant actors. Its interdisciplinary approach offers a fresh perspective on innovation and the challenges and aspirational goals associated with it in developing Societies.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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