Ideas to Income BLOG

Incredible India: Looking beyond a flat world

A recent invitation to join a Canadian delegation to India sponsored
by TIE (the Indus Entrepreneurs) and the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) was a real eye opener. The trip left me with a lot to ponder about how this corner of the world will play a significant role in the way we bring science and technology to market. As they say, it's not what you don't know that will kill you in business. Rather, it's what you
think you know but get wrong that will.

I'm happy to say that some of the misconceptions I had about India have quickly been "realigned."

Indeed, India does live up to all the hype we've seen in large part driven by the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. But there is so much more to India than what the VIP tour of the Infosys headquarters can reveal. Take a closer look at India and you will see huge implications for Canadian business, including the way we approach entrepreneurship and even social innovation.

For anyone immersed in the IT industry, the story of India's ascent as a technology superpower has been well publicized. Like millions of others, I had read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" and I have an appreciation for the clich├ęs we in North America apply to developing markets. But beyond all these snapshots, there is much more that needs to be looked at - beyond the brand association that many of us have formed about India being a country for low cost supply of IT/outsourced services and manufactured goods.

While we all know the world is flattening in terms of connectivity, making it easier for new clusters of talent to come together and connect into the global economy, there are some misconceptions about India. Both in terms of its current capabilities and its ability to shift from process innovation to more fundamental technology and commercial product development, the latter which will be driven as much by a rapidly changing domestic economy that for the past 15 years has averaged 18% growth. Even as the Rupee has appreciated, domestic growth driven by gains in consumer spending power has helped offset these impacts. Enough about the macro view: India is big. We know this. But what are some of the other facets we should look at in assessing India's emergence as the economy to watch over the next few decades? And what are the implications and opportunities for us here in Canada? Here are some observations...

Add comment 2007-12-20 Peter Evans


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