February 18, 2012
By Sriram Vadlamani
It’s a general assumption that innovation doesn’t happen in India or rather not much innovation happens in India. That statement stands true because Indian innovation doesn’t get much press. Much of the press is wasted on histrionics like filtering social media and launching $35 tablets.
To set the record straight, India is the hotbed for innovation. Be it the frugally engineered products or the home-grown solutions like Cash on Delivery. India’s innovation isn’t as hot as a Facebook or a Pintrest. That’s because, India as a country, isn’t quite there yet. Abraham Maslow would agree.
So what are these India’s innovative companies which aren’t as sexy as Facebook or Apple? Let’s get to that.
Fast Company has released its list of most innovative companies of 2012. Of the top 50, Apple topped the list followed by the usual suspects like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Square. India’s Narayana Hrudayala and Redbus. in figured in the top 50 list at ranks 36 and 48 respectively.
Though there are just 2 Indian companies, it is indeed an achievement to even figure in the list dominated by Technology companies and US born companies. That too for a company which does nothing but provide medical care to India’s masses and for a company which makes booking bus tickets a little easier.
Fast Company was kind enough to publish 10 most innovative companies of India. I like surveys and reports which give proper treatment to all the sections involved.
2010 vs 2012
Fast Company has published as similar list in 2010. Indian Premier League (IPL) was the top innovative company. Now it doesn’t even figure in the list. Narayana Hrudayalaya was featured at number 6 in 2010 list and is now number one. Wipro and Narayana Hrudayalaya are the only companies which are present in 2010 list and the current 2012 list.
VNL, Airtel, Reliance Industries, Godrej, Mahindra, Infosys and Little World dropped from the 2012 list.
Here are India’s 10 most innovative companies as per Fast Company
Narayana Hrudayala Hospitals
For bringing medical care to the masses and mixing Walmart’s model with Mother Theresa’s compassion. More.
For the audacity of attempting to put India’s 2000 odd bus operators. Redbus has 350 on-board already and has just scratched the surface of a $2.5bn Indian bus travel industry. More
For making India go flipkarting. For being India’s Amazon until Amazon arrived in India. And also for keeping the fight to Amazon. Most importantly for bring cash on delivery to the country which still fancy a credit card. Flipkart is running towards a $1bn valuation.
For matching India’s love for text messages and mobile phones with India’s lack of banking access. Eko brings banking to 180,000 users by bringing banking to the mobile phone with just a text message and a whole lot of backbone help from State Bank of India.
For Tata Nano.
For creating Supernova, India’s fastest super computer.
For being in the forefront to fulfill India’s audacious solar energy plan.
For filling the gap in pre-school education.
Nandi Community Water Services
For bring clean, filtered water to villages at 5 cents per liter in a sustainable manner.
For its eChoupal
As you can see nothing sexy in what the innovations are. But a farmer needs the latest prices to sell his produce. India can’t survive on fossil fuels and coal alone and need to tap its abundant solar energy. Indians can’t take their family of four safely on two wheelers and need a Tata Nano. Indians need to bank.
The reason India didn’t produce an Apple, Google or a Facebook so far is simple this : Majority of Indians can’t yet think of them, let alone need them. When there’s a need there will be this glamorous and sexy Indian company which will produce world-class products. That’s not a hope. That’s a truth whose time hasn’t yet come.
NOTE : Fast Company has featured Datawind, the maker of Aakash tablet, as the 6th most innovative company in education sector. Though Datawind has Indians as its founders, it’s a British company. Link
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