(The Gist of Science Reporter) India needs ASSURED Innovation Policy   [MAY-2018]


(The Gist of Science Reporter) India needs ASSURED Innovation Policy

  [MAY-2018]


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?

A (Affordable)
S (Scalable)
S (Sustainable)
U (Universal)
R (Rapid)
E (Excellent) and
D (Distinctive)

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 societal.

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 changing innovation.

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 the other.

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