Focus on science, not just innovation, says Mashelkar 

ST Correspondent
Monday, 27 August 2018

The scientist was speaking at the 30th Foundation Day of National Centre for Cell Science in the city

Pune: “While India ranks 57th in the Global Innovation Index (jumping up from rank 81 in 2015), there is still a need to bring about an exponential growth, and focus on science, not just innovation,” said scientist Raghunath Mashelkar while speaking at the 30th Foundation Day of National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) on Sunday.

He was speaking on the topic ‘From Incremental to Disruptive Game-Changing Innovation’, where he extensively spoke about the differences between incremental and disruptive innovations, and how India can build an exponential innovation culture.

“India is known for incremental innovation, as scarcity and aspiration are a great combination for the same. Disruptive innovation includes innovations like waterless washing, tubeless tires, driverless vehicles and wireless charging, which seemed impossible but are becoming a reality now. The game-changing technologies are bringing about real disruption in life, and thus we cannot have linear thinking anymore,” Mashelkar said.

“India is becoming the world leader in MLM model (More from Less for More), through not just the technological innovation but also business model innovation and workflow innovation. However, this is not considered by the Global Innovation Index,” he explained.

He also stated that in the future, it’s not going to be man vs machine, but man and machines. He said, “We did learning by noting. Then came learning by doing, followed by learning by creating. Now, the way ahead would be learning by co-creating between man and machines.”

In order to ensure assured success, any innovation must fulfil the matrices of being affordable, scalable, sustainable, universal, rapid and excellent. Whether an innovation is incremental or disruptive, it has to meet these matrices, and these also keep changing with time.

Mashelkar also said that the biggest hurdle in the way of building an exponential innovation culture is the traditional mindsets. “These fail to see the potential of an out of the box idea. They find these ideas dangerous and impossible to execute. The game-changing innovation leaders, however, bet on the risky ideas to make them possible,” he asserted.

‘Make in India should be discovered in India’

“Make in India should not just be assembled in India. It should be discovered, innovated and made in India. Talent, Technology and Trust are the key drivers of innovation. We need to have trust in our young innovative minds so that we can succeed. As far as adopting new technology is concerned, when the government becomes the first buyer of technologies, it also encourages a market for the same. We require a bold and innovative public procurement policy for innovation,” Mashelkar stated.

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