As Make in India Week concludes in Mumbai, India Inc. explores the innovation potential of the country for a truly sustainable manufacturing base that will define the new India. Make, design, create in India must all go hand in hand.
India has come a fair distance from being classified as the world’s back office. For an economy racing ahead to take its place among developed nations, it is the spirit of innovation that will translate into a sustainable growth agenda.
India Inc. analysed the centrality of such an innovation ecosystem through a power-packed panel at its 2nd annual Digital India Conclave to address ‘Not just Make in India but Design in India too’, with the idea of feeding into the Indian policy agenda and indeed the Make in India Week.
The onus must lie with the traditional manufacturing companies to innovate and ensure innovation becomes more and more pervasive, according to Rajat Dhawan, Director – McKinsey & Company.
“Much of the innovation, as much as 80 per cent, has to be directed towards domestic consumption, making products and services much more affordable and sustainable,” he points out.
Two variants emerge from this stream of thought to fuel jobs and growth:
• One centres around simply taking Western concepts and localising them to offer a kind of “180 product” – where 100 per cent of the value is offered at 80 per cent of the cost.
• At the other end is looking more in-depth at Indian and global Indian consumers and creating an 80-20 product, where 80 per cent of the value is offered at 20 per cent of the price point.
“Innovation is intrinsic to Indian DNA but it needs to move from the jugaad-led innovation into more of a science… use of technology mixed with a dose of entrepreneurial push is the recipe for growth in the next 20 years,” he stresses.
Bhavesh Thakkar, Partner at BDO India, concurred with the notion of both make and design in India being equally important for the country. He used the example of Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, which uses India solely as a manufacturing base with the value-added conceptualisation remaining US-based. In contrast, Indian consumer electronics firm Micromax chooses to design domestically and manufacture in China. There needs to a confluence of the two where both can take place in India.
“Make in India is not really a choice, it is a compulsion. But it is important that it’s make and design in India both,” he said.
And according to Purushottam Kaushik, managing director, sales, Cisco (India & Saarc), it is a case of industry taking a lead to work closely with relevant local start-ups and incubating ideas to push forward this design agenda.
“The way the IT industry is looking at it, sure India may have been a back office but today it can be a start-up capital, can be the innovation hub and there is an immense opportunity we see,” he said, highlighting that one-third of Cisco’s global turnover ($50 billion) now comes from India and many products from end-to-end are innovated and designed in India.