Sam Pitroda on Innovation and National Innovation Council

22nd May 2011
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“Innovation is the buzz word”, said Sam Pitroda recently, to an audience of three hundred comprising of some of the sharpest minds from the Industries of Vadodara, Gujarat. Sam Pitroda, currently advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations has had a very long and fruitful career spanning forty years. He is the founder and CEO of C-SAM, Inc., which has offices in India, USA and Japan. Sam Pitroda holds around 100 patents and has been involved in several start-ups. He has also lectured extensively across the globeThe President of India has declared 2010 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’ and the Prime Minister has approved the setting up of a National Innovation Council (NIC) under the Chairmanship of Mr. Sam Pitroda. CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) had organized this event and in this inaugural session of a lecture series, Sam Pitroda addressed the audience and enlightened them about Innovation council and the work it has been doing (http://innovationcouncil.gov.in/). The lecture aimed at igniting the curiosity in the minds of people and urged the community to take steps rather than wait for the government to do it.

Key Highlights of Sam Pitroda’s talk -

The primary point made by him was that a system cannot work unless and until the community works for it. Innovation is something which cannot be forced but is something that has to be supported so that when it crops up, it doesn’t die out because of lack of facilities. It is currently believed that we Indians cannot innovate and bring about breakthroughs in technology. This statement is valid because in the past 60 or 70 years, all major discoveries have been made in the USA. The Europeans or Japanese might argue but that is all it would be.

This is the case right now but it wasn’t so always. India was at the forefront before the British ruled over India. India had the best universities and was a manufacturing hub. Just to site an example, Manchester became the textile center after the textile mills were closed down in India during the British Raj. The growth rate of India was nil for almost 200 years when it was ruled over and that stagnated the economy. But after independence and especially after liberalization, there has been a new spark and it is of utmost importance to grab the opportunities that will come our way.

The innovation council has set up clusters in every state through which the innovators can get their due and the talent be nurtured. These clusters are a group of people headed by a domain expert. The talent pool present is India has to be leveraged to push forward the innovation agenda. There is a need to capture the innovations occurring in the various fields in Industries and Universities to augment the innovation process.

NIC will act as a platform to facilitate this engagement and collaboration with domain experts, stakeholders and key participants to create an innovation movement in India. The seeds for telecom industry were sowed by Mr.Pitroda around two decades ago and we can see the results now. As a result of which, he is rightly called the father of Telecom Revolution in India. And now the responsibility has been thrust upon his shoulders to take forward the innovation movement and make it a success to help India achieve the goals it has set for itself

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