Innovate or Perish

DQI Bureau
New Update

Speaking at Nasscom's first Innovation event, Kiran Karnik gave various

common examples of Indian innovation at its best. The most amusing was the use

of washing machines across various Delhi and Punjab dhabas to make top class

lassi-truly one way to ensure that Western technology and Indian taste buds

could be perfectly matched! The best innovations, this seems to say, are born in

lands like India and China where there is no natural abundance of resources and

the ability to reduce costs or add value on a regular basis are not just a

success but a survival imperative. The Nasscom Innovation roadshows, held in the

cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, brought this new feature of the Indian IT

industry into sharp focus. A process that began with a search among 400 emerging

companies around the country resulting in formal applications from nearly 100 of

these to be considered for the Innovation showcase events finally saw six

companies, which made it through a selection process in which most of India's

top software CEOs participated, presenting in each of the cities.


What makes the Innovation forum one of the most significant initiatives of

Nasscom, which has already developed a reputation for being the most valuable

industry association in the country and one of the foremost in the world? After

years of success in representing the industry leaders at international forums

and playing a major role in putting Indian IT on the top of the heap in the

consideration set of global IT and BPO contracts, the search for innovation has

led to the creation of a new energy stream for even small and medium-sized

companies, and given these companies the confidence that they can stand up and

be counted as potential leaders of a new generation of Indian success. Indeed no

company epitomizes this new breed better than Pune's Compulink, whose

Project-by-Net project management software has now been adopted not just by

Indian companies like Geometric and Mphasis but also by global majors like


 Ganesh Natarajan

Innovation is a survival imperative not just a bonus in countries like India, where the strains on natural resources are tremendous 

Does that mean that innovation can flourish only in startups? Not at all-every

one of the WITS (Wipro, Infosys, TCS and Satyam) and most of the next tier

successful companies have shown the ability to offer something unique to the

marketplace, in the form of a new product or service, a new process or framework

or in many cases just a refreshing new approach to business acquisition or

people management. Our own company, Zensar, was just chugging along till an

innovative solution blueprinting framework which automates large portions of the

systems development lifecycle and obviates the need for cumbersome and error

prone programming came out of our research and innovation groups. In a few

quarters, this has spawned new services in the area of application modernization

and reengineering, product engineering and embedded systems development and put

the company near the top of the list for major migration projects not just in

the USA and UK but even in countries like Japan and Thailand. And added steroids

to our own growth story! But the future of innovation will depend on a clutch of

entrepreneurs having the courage to stay off the beaten track and focus on the

design, development and marketing of world-class intellectual property.

Finally, back to the Nasscom Innovation forum-the top six companies

nationwide will now have the opportunity to present on Innovation Day, which is

part of Nasscom 2005, the annual industry extravaganza, and then to find

partners worldwide to take their story to the global markets. The innovation bug

has firmly bitten the industry and the innovators will keep the Indian IT flag

flying high!

The author is deputy chairman and managing director of Zensar Technologies

and chairman of Nasscom's SME Forum for Western India