Economist Innovation Award Winners

Here . Among them: Sam Pitroda for Business-process innovation. “Business-process innovation: Sam Pitroda, chief executive of WorldTel, for pioneering India’s communications revolution. In 1987 Mr Pitroda was asked by Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, to help democratise access to telecommunications. His response was to deploy instantly recognisable yellow telephone kiosks in every town and village. This helped to release India’s telecoms industry from state control and opened it up to private firms, paving the way for a technology boom. He now promotes similar policies in other countries.”

India’s Growth

WSJ writes:

India’s surprisingly strong quarterly expansion has economists raising short-term growth forecasts but worrying that inflation and interest rates could rise and crimp growth in the longer term.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, gross domestic product rose 9.2% from a year earlier, the government’s Central Statistical Organization said. The robust growth, powered by strong spending by Indian consumers and corporations, topped the 8.4% expansion in the same quarter of 2005 and was above analysts’ expectations of GDP growth of 8.9%.

The unexpectedly strong performance gives some economists jitters. While few say India’s economy is overheating, they caution that the faster expansion means politicians and financial regulators must keep a closer watch on the potentially negative side effects of increasing affluence.

Mobile Operator Pipes

Andreas Constantinou writes:

In the last five years, tier-1 mobile network operators (MNOs) have looked for strategic inspiration in many places, albeit with limited success: at the killer app, the killer brand, the killer supermarket, the killer segmentation, the killer branded handset, the killer content and the killer service. All have been results of the operator-is-king mentality, which followed from the astonishing revenue growth reaped by networks in the early years of mobile. All have come far short of expectations.

My thesis is that operators should re-evaluate their strategies, not in the context of the one-sided market, but in the context of a two-sided market, where value flows both from the left and right of the chain. In other words, rather than continue the one-firm-provides-all strategy, they should adopt a platform strategy, by linking users with content providers and advertisers. They should take lessons from Google, VISA, Microsoft, Shell, Monster and shopping malls. MNOs should focus on extracting value only where they can add value, i.e. through network, handset and retail enablers.