India to Accelerate Growth Through Inclusive Innovation | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Innovative solutions adaptable and appropriate to the Indian condition and context can help overcome the social disparity between the rich and the poor. 
  • The government declared 2010-2020 as the Decade of Innovation, and set up the National Innovation Council (NInC) to spear head this objective.
  • The government has committed USD 100 million as seed money for setting up a billion dollar Inclusive Innovation Fund to strengthen entrepreneurship and enterprises engaged in developing solutions benefiting the poorest of the poor. 


November 22, 2011―
India has emerged as a global power in the past decade. With an annual GDP growth rate of 8.6%, it is the world’s fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power, the second most populous country in the world and a leading player in IT, telecom and business outsourcing. The Government of India recognizes that in order to sustain this growth rate and strengthen its national competitiveness, innovation has a critical role to play in India’s economic and social growth and development.

Innovative solutions adaptable and appropriate to the Indian condition and context can help overcome the social disparity between the rich and the poor. The government declared 2010-2020 as the Decade of Innovation, and set up the National Innovation Council (NInC) to spear head this objective.
 

A Roundtable to Spur Innovation

The NInC, in partnership with the World Bank Institute, organized a two-day Global Innovation Roundtable in New Delhi on November 14 and 15 and invited the innovation leads from 15 governments globally as well as international experts to brainstorm on the role of innovation in fueling growth, development and welfare.

“We view innovation as truly a game changer to move from incremental change to radical change. It is, therefore, our resolve to build an enabling environment for innovation to flourish in our country,” said Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India. During the event, Dr. Singh released a report on activities and initiatives of the National Innovation Council. The government has committed $100 million as seed money for setting up a billion dollar Inclusive Innovation Fund to strengthen entrepreneurship and enterprises engaged in developing solutions benefiting the poorest of the poor. 

open-quotesThrough this roundtable, India has had the opportunity to bring together diverse and multiple perspectives and access global knowledge on innovation as a means of creating sustainable and cost effective solutions for people at the bottom of the pyramidclose-quotesDr. Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India and Chairman, National Innovation Council.

The Government has also established an innovative experiment in Rights-based delivery through policy initiatives like the Right to Work, Right to Education and Right to Information. The 13th Finance Commission has provided $200,000 grants to each district in the country under the District Innovation Fund.   

Throughout the roundtable, experts from India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, United States of America, and the European Commission deliberated on innovative strategies that could address the needs of those at the base of the pyramid (BOP); explore possibilities to stimulate greater global cooperation across countries and form networks; and contribute, through such sharing to make innovations a prime driver for collective solution building.

“Through this roundtable, India has had the opportunity to bring together diverse and multiple perspectives and access global knowledge on innovation as a means of creating sustainable and cost effective solutions for people at the bottom of the pyramid,” shared Dr. Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India and Chairman, National Innovation Council.

At the roundtable, it was highlighted that innovation has shifted from large institutions to individuals, small groups, and the private sector – and that there was a need to have systems and processes to identify, nurture and mentor them. It was noted that while venture capitalists have played a vital role in nurturing innovation, however, in the current economic climate, the number of such funding has significantly reduced. The role of the government in the innovation process was thereby necessary to fund, as well as, act as a facilitator to help create platforms for various clusters of social innovation.

Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer, United States White House said, “In the process of innovation, the role of the government is that of an impatient facilitator. We are concentrating our efforts in areas that have long term economic benefits such as education, healthcare and energy, to take research from the lab into the markets.”

Next Steps

The roundtable echoed the need to have a long-term approach to fostering innovation. To make innovation more inclusive, it is essential to have the public sector, private enterprises and venture capital develop partnerships, with the government supporting such ventures through specific policies to enhance the country’s innovative capacity.

For this to happen, the quality of education at the primary and elementary level needs to be substantially enhanced. Universities and academia need to play a multi-faceted role in cultivating innovation, and should create public knowledge exchange platforms, promote problem solving skills, and fuel innovative research.

The roundtable concluded with various global stakeholders proposing further collaboration and knowledge exchange by creating a global network of participating institutions as a way to mobilize resources and continuing the systemic focus on promoting inclusive innovation as well as convening a Second Global Innovation Roundtable in a year’s time.

As a part of its charter to fuel innovation in social development, the World Bank is supporting the Government of India to address the challenges of achieving rapid inclusive growth, ensure sustainable development and improve service delivery. In Vietnam, the World Bank has already launched an inclusive innovation project in 2010, to address the needs of those at the base of the pyramid and small and medium enterprises. WBI is also collaborating with the Chinese Government to organize a seminar on Innovation Policy in 2012. WBI and the South Asia Initiative at Harvard University will also co-organize the Global Inclusive Innovation Summit in 2012 to bring critical stakeholders from a few emerging and developed economies with active need and interest in inclusive innovation to discuss policies, create programs and forge partnerships. 
 

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