If we look at countries like South Korea, Japan, or China, we can see how innovation has been the primary driver of progress and growth.

Innovation is a decisive factor that influences value creation, which, in turn, drives economic growth. It also leads to the birth of new businesses, which further drives competitiveness in the market, fueling growth.

The momentum of economic progress is directly proportional to Research and Development endeavours which fuel a country’s capacity to innovate. The present government has taken cognisance of this and India has now increased its R & D spending to drive growth opportunities. The country has the capacity to boost its GDP to 10.4 trillion USD by 2034, increase its per capita GDP to 6,800 USD, and increase its R&D spend to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2032. So, it makes sense to focus on innovation for value creation.

There is no denying that we need to boost innovation by focusing heavily on R&D at an enterprise level. At the same time, it is equally essential to help drive innovation at the university level to enable value co-creation.

The setting up of the Atal Innovation Mission has been an important step in that direction.

Innovation incubators are not important – they are essential

According to a NASSCOM report, India holds a 37% share of the global outsourcing market. Now, with a rapidly evolving tech landscape, we have moved from being the back office of the world and are now developing innovative digital solutions. As the digital revolution becomes all-pervasive and transforms every sector and every industry, we have to focus on developing our capacity to innovate.

Setting up innovation incubators in universities is a great way to ensure value-creation.

The innovation incubators value-add

Innovation cells, like those present in the IIT’s, can now become a part of all universities owing to government initiatives like the Atal Innovation mission. These innovation centers can help students bring their ideas to life. They will ensure that the students get the right infrastructure, funding, and support to develop real solutions for real-world problems.

The European Commission has set up similar initiatives such as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The success of these initiatives shows how these bodies can help drive innovation by enabling collaboration between academia, researchers, and businesses via their knowledge and innovation communities.

Such exposure to students helps in increasing their innovation acumen. It motivates them by providing the resources they need to create and roll out working, value-driven products.

Focus on Data – Data Science, AI, Analytics, and more

Given the focus on futuristic technologies such as AI and data science and the growing demand for data products also means that these incubation centers will have to provide the required support to help students validate their ideas and build working data solutions.

  • All the products today are in some way or the other data products. There is some aspect of data involved in every product in some stage or the other. To ride on this data wave, innovation incubators can provide the students access to the right technology solutions that can help them build data solution prototypes for real-world problems.
  • With an increased reliance on data-driven decision making across all industry verticals, data science solutions are essential to validate and build products. Providing guidance from data science industry experts, internship opportunities, certifications, and subsequent mentoring from the same can push innovation and drive entrepreneurship in our country.
  • Along with this, providing business capital support, access to seed capital, industry partnerships, and training are few of the other things that innovation centers can enable and help students move along the path of entrepreneurship.

We can safely say that India is the intellectual capital of the world.

We only have to take a cursory look around to see how Indians are leading some of the largest enterprises across the globe. Perhaps if we provided this intellectual capital the provision to innovate in the country and lead their ideas to fruition, then maybe we wouldn’t witness such a robust export of our talent to other economies.

With these innovation centers becoming an integral part of universities and by providing the opportunities of enablement, we can certainly see the innovation and entrepreneurial explosion happening in India as well.