(The Gist of Science Reporter) India needs ASSURED Innovation
India needs ASSURED Innovation Policy
Innovation is the key to economic and social development, growth as well as
competitiveness. How is India doing in terms of its global standing in
innovation? Look at the Global Innovation Index. India’s rank among 140 odd
nations went down from 66 (2011) to 76 (2012) to 86 (2013). Why? Not because
India was doing worse, but because the other nations were doing better. But then
comes the good news. It has moved up to 66 (2016) and now to 60 (2017). So India
is on the rise. But we have a long way to go to become a top ranking innovation
nation. India needs a new national innovation policy, going beyond the national
science, technology and innovation policy that was launched by the Government of
India in 2011. I describe such a policy simply as ASSURED Innovation Policy.
What does ASSURED stand for?
E (Excellent) and
A (Affordability) is required to create access for everyone across the
economic pyramid, especially at the bottom.
S (Scalability) is required to make real impact by reaching out to every
individual in the society, not just a privileged few.
S (Sustainability) is required in many contexts environmental, economic and
U (Universal) implies user-friendliness, so the innovation can be used
irrespective of the skill levels of an individual.
R (Rapid) refers to speed. Inclusive growth cannot be achieved without the
speed of our action matching the speed of our innovative thoughts.
E (Excellence) in technological as well as non-technological innovation,
product quality, and service quality is required, not just for the elite few but
for everyone in the sandy, Since the rising aspirations of resource-poor people
also need to be fulfilled.
D (Distinctive) innovation is required because there is no use of creating me
too products and services. Hopefully, D will stand for disruptive or game
JAM - J (Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna), A (Aaadhar identification and
authentication) and M (Mobile telecommunications) created the fastest and
largest financial inclusion in the world, with 300 million plus bank accounts
opening up in record time. But for successfully implementing the ASSURED
innovation policy, we need to build a robust innovation ecosystem. The essential
elements of such a national ecosystem include physical, intellectual and
cultural constructs. Beyond mere research labs, it includes idea incubators,
technology parks, a conducive intellectual property rights regime, balanced
regulatory systems, strategically designed standards, academics who believe in
not just ‘publish or perish’, but ‘patent, publish and prosper’, scientists who
have the passion to become techno-preneurs, potent inventor-investor engagement,
'ad' venture capital, and passionate innovation leaders. It was hailed for its
‘radical simplicity for universal access’. Before the arrival of the smart phone
in 2003, Simputer had anticipated some breakthrough technologies that are now
commonplace in mobile devices. One of them was the accelerometer, introduced to
the rest of the world for the first time in the iPhone. The other was doodle on
mail, the ability to write on a phone, that was later a major feature on the
Samsung Galaxy phones. Innovations are products of creative interaction of
supply and demand. Besides supply side initiatives, we need aggressive demand
side initiatives -and public procurement is an obvious choice. With large
procurement budgets, the Indian government can not only be the biggest, but also
the most influential and demanding customer of these ASSURED innovations.
Finally, ASSURED can be a one word policy statement’ for India, helping it
achieve accelerated inclusive growth on one hand and global competitiveness on
Courtesy: Science Reporter