Innovatievisie uit India

Nieuws | de redactie
6 december 2007 | De vader van 'India Kennisland', dr Abdul Kalam, sprak op een conferentie te Nyenrode over innovatie en 'global sourcing'. Deze rede leest u hier.

In a knowledge society, we have to make innovations continuously. Innovations come through creativity. Creativity comes from beautiful minds. It can be anywhere and any part of the world. It may start from a fisherman hamlet or a farmer’s household or a dairy farm or cattle breeding center or it could emanate from classrooms or labs or industries or R&D centers.

Creativity has got multi dimensions like inventions, discoveries and innovations. Creative mind has the ability to imagine or invent something new by combining, changing or reapplying existing ideas. Creative person has an attitude to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it. Creativity is a process through which, we can continuously improve ideas and find unique solutions by making gradual alterations and refinements to our works. The important aspect of creativity is: seeing the same thing as everybody else, but thinking of something different. Global sourcing to be successful needs many creative minds to work together and lead to benefiting of many nations.

Global Sourcing

Global sourcing has acquired prominence in the last few decades driven by market exploration elsewhere, potential cost advantages, skill utilization and business strategies. The communication revolution has enabled a rapid growth of global sourcing. It has also fueled debates and like any evolving system, I am sure these will result in some positive progress. To me it appears that innovation in working together can result in global sourcing as a source of benefit to the entire human kind.

There are several challenges that are faced by the humanity as a whole, whether they are developed or developing. Clean environment, abundant energy, copious supply of water, empowerment of people with education and health care, availability of globally employable human resources, preservation of human culture and value system and above all looking at alternate habitat for the earth citizens are all global challenges as well as opportunities rather than just national issues. They require thinking globally and acting globally and locally.

The first step is to have a different mind set for global sourcing. It has to be seen beyond “profit” for a limited purpose. Global sourcing should be seen as an activity to create knowledge workers and leaders who are beyond the realm of narrow borders of geography, disciplines and products. Global sourcing should be seen as a methodology to combine the core competence of organizations and nations to design develop products, processes and human resources for solving the major problems facing the planet earth. It should be realized that such working together would not only enable world-class products of optimum performance, cost and time, but also provide a sense of security to the world. Economic development of a nation is powered by competitiveness. The competitiveness is powered by knowledge power. The knowledge power is powered by technology and innovation.

Growth of Knowledge Society

Knowledge has always been the prime mover for prosperity. A knowledge society is one of the basic foundations for the development of any nation. Knowledge has many forms and it is available at many places. The acquisition of knowledge has therefore been the thrust area throughout the world and sharing the experience of knowledge is a unique culture of our country. Economic growth for India is fundamentally tied to societal transformation in the knowledge products and service sector. Of course this in turn strengthens agriculture and manufacturing through innovation and value addition. Our multi-dimensional movement towards Developed India 2020 aims to generate revenue not only from raw material, agricultural and industrial products which are the hallmarks of an agricultural society, but also through information and knowledge society with knowledge intensive products and a vibrant manufacturing sector using new knowledge and skill.

Dimensions of Knowledge Society

In the knowledge economy the objective of a society changes from fulfilling the basic needs of all-round development to empowerment. The education system will be promoted by creative, interactive self learning – formal and informal education with focus on values, merit and quality. The workers instead of being skilled or semi-skilled will be knowledgeable, self-empowered and flexibly skilled. The type of work instead of being structured and hardware driven will be less structured and software driven. Management style will emphasize more on delegation rather than giving command. Impact on environment and ecology will be strikingly less compared to industrial economy. Finally, the economy will mostly be driven by knowledge and knowledge driven industry.

In order to promote national prosperity, it is essential that simultaneously a citizen- centric approach to evolution of business policy, user-driven technology generation and intensified industry-lab-academy linkages have to be established in every country. Now let me explain how India has used Global sourcing between India and other nations based on its core competence to evolve a world-class product and services using innovation, knowledge generation, knowledge sharing, and knowledge dissemination.

Fusion of core competence of two nations

Let me share with you a unique experience of developing, a complex system through a joint venture using the core competence of two nations. The technological and managerial cooperation of the two nations and an investment of around two hundred million dollars by each nation have enabled the realization of the first Supersonic Cruise missile called BrahMos within 5 years. The foundation of the Joint venture is based on joint design, development, production and marketing. One of the significant technological breakthroughs of 2006-2007 is the design, development and productionization of Supersonic Cruise Missile-BRAHMOS by an Indo-Russian joint venture.

BrahMos is the first supersonic operational cruise missile in the world, which can be launched from multiple platforms such as ships, submarines, road mobile and silo, and with modifications from aircraft. This is indeed the result of technological co-operation leading to operational system. The supersonic speed is achieved by a liquid ramjet engine and the guidance is through powerful software embedded in the on-board avionics integrated with high performance sensors. The fast response Inertial guidance system with software injected sensors and agile homing head enables the missile to achieve variety of trajectories flying at speed Mach 2.8 and destroy the target with high accuracy. The flight trajectories are simulated through a modular, digital and fully automated Fire Control System, which has advanced software for waypoint maneuvering, with supersonic speed to provide high operational capabilities.

This technological innovation is the trendsetter in the cruise missile field. The robust design of the missile, elaborate ground tests and simulation has ensured 100 percent success rate in all the flight tests conducted for the Armed Forces by the joint venture company. In successful design, development, production and marketing of BRAHMOS missile, an innovative way of technology co-operation has emerged between India and other countries for multi-billion dollar business. This is an important example of global sourcing and innovation.

Pan African e-Network

During the year 2003-04, I visited African countries such as Sudan, Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa. I addressed the Pan African Parliament on 16 Sept 2004, at Johannesburg, South Africa which was attended by Heads of 53 member countries of the African Union. Based on my study of the communication, healthcare and education needs of the African countries, I proposed the system of Pan African e-Network for providing seamless and integrated satellite, fiber optics and wireless network connecting 53 African countries.

The Pan-African e-Network project is estimated to cost around US$100 million. As part of the project 12 universities (7 from India and 5 from Africa), 17 Super Specialty Hospitals (12 from India and 5 from Africa), 53 tele-medicine centers and 53 tele-education centers in Africa are being connected. In the first phase tele- education and tele-medicine in Ethiopia has already been commissioned. One of our Indian Universities has taken up the MBA Course for 34 Ethiopian students of Addis Ababa and Harmaya Universities. As regards, tele-medicine, the specialists from CARE Hospital, Hyderabad are providing one-hour live tele- consultation to doctors in Black Lion Hospital, Addis Ababa in Cardiology and Radiology since November 2006.

The Pan African e-Network will primarily provide Tele- Education, Tele- Medicine, Internet, videoconferencing and VOIP services. It also supports e- Governance, e-Commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological services. Each remote location will be able to access the Internet through the network by linking the HUB to Internet backbone. Using this network the Heads of the State in all the 53 countries will be connected for instant communication. The network is designed to have 169 terminals and a central hub to deliver tele-education and tele-medicine services. The proposed network will utilize state- of-the-art technology and can be integrated with the latest broadband technologies like Wi-Fi and Wi-Max. The network is scalable to support different applications catering to increased number of users. I am happy to inform you that 22 countries will be connected and operationalized by the year 2008. The rest will be connected subsequently. It is another example of successful global sourcing, where India had a direct experience.

World Knowledge Platform

Based on these experiences, I am suggesting the creation of a World Knowledge Platform for realization of world-class products for commercial applications using the core competencies of partner countries, which will meet the needs of many nations.

Let us look at evolution of vision into reality. We have several examples of individual visionaries motivating a team and realizing new technologies, products and business plans in a competitive environment. These contribute to the development process of the society and create new markets not even visualized originally. For example we see how mobile phones had accelerated the societal communication. In future nano and convergence of nano info biotechnologies will lead to evolution of new methods of diagnostics and treatment of diseases genetically. These new products as well as the major challenges faced by humanity for improving the quality of life, critical resources trigger volume of requirements as well as break through technologies and products which call for out of box thinking within and among organisation spread through out the world. They call for innovative partnership where competition and cooperation have to coexist globally.

I have proposed this concept to Government, institutions, academy and industry and to many countries that I have visited and also to Indian Parliament and European Parliament.This world knowledge platform will enable joint design, development, cost effective production and marketing of the knowledge products in various domains. In the Industrial environment, it can be used to design complex systems – even ones that are as complex as an aircraft in a collaborative way using virtual prototyping.. I realize the impact of ICT and the power of networks in every domain of our life. For the development of any system or products the power of connectivity and collaborative innovative effort is the key, which is the basic foundation for the World Knowledge Platform.

Missions of World Knowledge Platform

The convergence of Bio, Nano and ICT is expected to touch every area of concern to the humanity. The “World Knowledge Platform” will take up missions, in some of the areas given below, which are of utmost urgency to all of us to make our world a safe, sustainable, peaceful and prosperous place to live:

1. Energy: exploration, storage, production and conversion particularly focusing towards energy independence (Solar power, nuclear power and biofuel).
2. Water: treatment and desalination
3. Healthcare: Diagnosis and drug delivery system
4. Food processing, preservation, storage and distribution
5. Knowledge products: Hardware, Software and Networking, Storage products and micro handheld devices for mobile computing.
6. Aerospace system: Design and development of 100 to 200 seater passenger aircraft, and re-usable space launch vehicles and geo- synchronous satellite service station for extending the life of existing satellites in orbit.
7. Ship building industry: Particularly building large size ships to the tune of 300,000 DWT, which will be vitally needed for transportation due to economic growth.
8. Automobile: Hardware and embedded software integration and development of fully safe crash proof, fuel efficient, intelligent automobile systems.
9. Media and entertainment: Integrating TV, Telephone and computing system for home usage.

World Knowledge Platform should focus especially in the areas of design, development leading to productionization for meeting the market demands of partner countries and the world market using their innovative capacities and core competence. The world knowledge platform will also evolve a virtual design center with the participation of collaborating countries.

The concept of “World Knowledge Platform” can be utilized by organizations for integrating their capabilities spread in different work centers, synergising the unique competence available in other like minded companies both within the country and abroad for vertical domains for collaborative research, development, production and marketing of products and systems using Global Sourcing approach.


What is the most important ingredient that will enable us to realize Global Innovation? My study indicates that the creative leadership is the most important component for attaining success in all missions. I would like to define based on my experiences:

1. Leader must have the vision for the organisation.
2. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.
3. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.
4. Leader must have courage to take decisions.
5. Leader should have Nobility in management.
6. Every action of the leader should be transparent.

For a sustainable growth of any organization, the important thrust will be on the generation of a number of creative leaders through nurturing the talent, and promoting innovation in every sector and R&D leading to patents. Emergence of such leaders particularly will facilitate global competitiveness and help in transforming any nation as a knowledge society.

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