Anand Mahindra says COVID-19 is a 'catalyst' for societal transformation; can make 2020 mankind's 'year of wonder'
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra believes that the COVID-19 crisis is a "catalyst that can speed up societal and technological transformation".
In his keynote address at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, one of Asia's largest events in IT, biotechnology, and electronics, Mahindra invoked Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion: "An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force."
COVID-19 is that "force", he said, that has brought about the "need for speed" and integration of technology and life sciences in a post-pandemic world. "It will speed up adoption and innovation, and fits into the theme of #NextIsNow," he said.
"This could well be a defining moment in the convergence of IT and biotechnology. It emphasises the need for quick action, and encourages the pooling of skills, merging of knowledge, and integration of technology," he added.
Anand Mahindra delivering the keynote address at BTS 2020
The Mahindra Group Chairman outlined the '3 Is' that will help create "an integrated biotech ecosystem" and promote innovation in a post-COVID-19 world.
1) Identify: The first step is the identification of healthcare needs from mRNA vaccines to home diagnostic kits to antiviral drugs. "India needs to use a combination of biological knowledge and IT delivery system to deliver healthcare," he said.
2) Integrate: Mahindra believes that integration of tech and biotech and "merging" of engineering, physics, material science, and agriculture is the key to overcoming this crisis. "Integration will give birth to decades of innovation," he said. He added that a wide range of technology impacting our lives will have to be integrated in future.
3) Invest: He urged innovators to produce solutions that can align investments with social good. "We, in India, lack the self-belief to invest in ourselves to bring projects to scale. But it is not enough to rely only on government support," he said.
Mahindra summed up his address by going back to Newton, who is said to have spent the most "intellectually fruitful" years of his life during the Bubonic Plague of 1665-67.
"It came to be known as Newton's Year of Wonders, during which he formulated various theories that changed science we know," he said. "I hope one day we too will be able to look back at 2020 as the year of wonder for mankind."