July 8, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore & Kochi
India, like China, has undergone rapid economic growth. Initially, India’s growth was appropriately influenced by developed nations. India needed to first learn, experiment with and imitate basic ideas and technologies from other countries.
Now India is moving beyond this stage, out of imitation and into innovation.
To successfully make this shift requires a supportive culture for innovation, suggested Dr. Kumar Nochur of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, USA, as he addressed nearly a hundred industry leaders and business students at workshops on Sustainable Innovation in both Coimbatore and Kochi.
Nochur, who has conducted dozens of innovation skills courses for employees of 3M, the US-based company known for its innovative products, was the lead speaker at the workshop organized by the Amrita School of Business in the two locations.
In his talk, Nochur emphasized that innovation is a risk and explained how organizations need to stand behind employees who are courageous and confident enough to try and create something new and different.
Defining sustainable innovation as that which is responsive to local needs, culture, resources and skills, Nochur highlighted its earth-friendly and green attributes.
“Sustainable innovation shall not harm the earth for the sake of profits or market share or other such business metrics,” he said. “This requires, at a minimum, that the materials used in the product and packaging, and the process of manufacturing or production, do not add to the burden on the environment.”
“Innovators will consider the life cycle of their products or other offerings from cradle to grave, and take responsibility for recycling or reusing all the materials used when the product is discarded. Sustainable innovation will not generate products that lead to rapid obsolescence or which propagate a throw-away or wasteful culture.”
Having conducted workshops on innovation for over 25 years with leading corporations in the United States, such as GE, P&G and National Semiconductors in addition to 3M, Nochur proceeded to explain the potential he saw in India and Amrita.
“There is so much expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering and in other technical areas. There are so many motivated people who are already innovators, or want to be, in so many diverse industries. We could leverage the rich pool of local talent and resources, and turn the region into a hotbed of sustainable innovation, and be a model to the rest of the world.”
“The Amrita School of Business combines universal values of discovery of truth with reflective and active learning. Ethics, globalization, value-based decision-making and well-being of the economy and individuals are an integral part (not an after-thought or a footnote) of the curriculum and extra-curricular learning and teaching.”
“Educating Amrita students on the skills and competencies of effective innovators is definitely a first step in preparing them to make appropriate innovations and change happen in the real world.”