Innovation in crisis

How innovation can determine survival in a crisis: Debjani Ghosh, NASSCOM

There are looming crisis ahead: Climate change, basic access to education, healthcare, eradicate hunger, etc. And emerging technologies like AI, robotics, quantum is giving us the ability to tackle some of these mega problems.

Covid19 on one hand has brought loss and suffering but on the other hand has unleashed the power of innovation. Covid19 has also demonstrated the importance of innovation for human survival and that it is the only ammunition available in a crisis. “The ability to innovate and the speed with which we do determines the possibility of overcoming the challenge,” says Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM addressing a session DeepTech Mission Critical Innovations at Dataquest Digital Leadership Conclave.

Ghosh reminds that as we battle the pandemic there are looming crisis ahead: Climate change, basic access to education, healthcare, eradicate hunger, etc. And emerging technologies like AI, robotics, quantum is giving us the ability to tackle some of these mega problems.

“This crisis made us realize that we are capable of doing much more. We have the tools and technology to solve some of these problems challenging humankind. It is up to us to organize for these,” she says.

Innovation proved a winning aspect in the past while humankind dealt with world war 2 and its consequences. Ghosh reiterates some of the lessons from history for building innovation in crisis.

  1. The power of collaboration. A must do today, it stands between success and failure. Tremendous collaboration led to finding vaccines in a year. “We will need it going forward and up the collaboration cross border and cross differences for the best minds to come together to find solutions crucial to humankind. This applies to governments, business alike,” she says.
  2. Innovation is co creation. It is important to accept and nurture changing models of innovation. “Startups work with large companies to co create solutions as it is impossible to have all the skills under one roof. Indian tech startups have led the innovation charter with the rise of DeepTech startups,” she says.
  3. The need to not reinvent but use existing body of knowledge to find solutions.
  4. The need to invest in science, research and development and skilling in R&D. “We significantly have to work in upping investment in both government and industry,” she says.

We should not ignore the lessons of the past. No matter how different the tech looks, models of innovation look, the core building blocks of innovation have not changed Debjani says. “Hence we need to invest in building the core building blocks. It is important to establish India as a leader in the innovation world and scientific discovery.

Given the complexities we face, we are fertile ground for innovation. We innovate for India, we innovate for the world. And it’s the only way we can create inclusive, sustainable, greener future we dream about,” Debjani Ghosh concludes.

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