What India and other emerging markets need is some out-of-the-box thinking , some Disruptive Innovation. It is hard to say if it will ever happen, but as I have said before, as an Indian, one becomes an optimist tomorrow will always be better than today! Emerging markets like India cannot do with sustaining innovations; they need to imagine new markets, create new business models, think entrepreneurially, leverage the technological discontinuities and build the future. It is a task at which we in India have for the most part failed in the past 50 years. So, is there hope for India? Can India become a role model for other emerging markets? Here are a few ideas. Some may seem whimsical, others too dreamy. But as I said at the start, the need is for disruption, not incrementalism.
Elect a New Set of Leaders: The problem with Indias politicians is just that they are politicians. Weve seen the past in their hands. India needs professionals at the helm. One person whose been doing wonders in the Indian government is the Disinvestment Minister, Arun Shourie. Hes making sure the government gets out of the public sector units. Shourie is a journalist, author and intellectual. Anything but a politician. Heres a thought: Ratan Tata turns 65 this December, and as per the Tatas policy, will probably retire. Make him Prime Minister for 5 years. If he can turn around a ship as massive and with as much legacy as the House of Tatas in the past decade.
Envision a New India: What appalls me is that few of us even dream of a New India. What do we want the India of tomorrow to be? What are the areas in which we want to achieve world dominance? What is our vision for India in 2010 or 2020? If we have one, why arent we sharing it? Why have we stopped dreaming? Surely, not all of us have given up. We are still a democracy.
Live in the Future: The present sucks, and we all know that. The past lives only in memories. What matters is tomorrow, the future. One simple approach stop reading the daily newspapers and watching TV, and stop discussing whats happening around us. We know it is grim, and talking about it wont make much of a difference. As an alternative, start reading some of the technology weblogs they can open our eyes to the new world that is being created. We are smart enough to do value-added aggregation of ideas. Enough of us need to be driven enough to decide that we are going to emerge on the forefront of tomorrows technology pioneers. A few months living in different surroundings will change our thinking, and inspire us to stand up and be counted among the best. And once, we start doing it, others around us too will. One person can make a difference. Think Frodo in Lord of the Rings.
Play To Win: Learn from Kumble. How many of us would have expected him to come out there and bowl with a broken jaw and bandages wrapped all over his face, leave alone get Laras wicket? We all expected him to be on the next flight to India. Because thats what we would have done. We need that killer instinct. We need to believe that we can be the best. Tomorrows world is a knowledge-driven world. Lets put our thinking caps on, and play to beat out everyone else. Good is the enemy of Great.
Tomorrow: Can We Change? (continued)