This is a reality without a doubt, that in the last few decades, India has truly not been able to produce any blockbuster product companies.While some people may call this as the failure of India’s entrepreneurial tribe, let’s analyze what serves as its premise.
To thoroughly understand the situation, one has to take into account the past as an inevitable contributor for shaping this present. Much like the market demand forecasting that takes into account the historic data and ongoing patterns to model the future.
India, a country with its roots in the ancient era, has thrived on innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs. From engineering an advanced hydraulic drainage system to cities structured on urban planning, ship building to using signboards, Indian subcontinent pioneered innovations before 3,000 BCE. In the never-ending list of Indian inventions (in medicine, art, science, and technology), Mysorean Rockets that kept British army at bay were developed around 1700 CE. Upon the fall of Mysore kingdom, they were later used by the British army to develop Congreve Rockets. But sadly, this heritage took a rapid nosedive in the centuries that followed.
In the 1700s, India’s share of global GDP was about 25% and that by 1900s was down to a mere2%!So when a country like the US had almost three to a four-century long smooth runway to develop itself, we were simultaneously being on a negative trajectory between the 1700s and1947, thanks to foreign invasions! Things only started improving in India post-1947 and only in the last decade, the improvement has been at a highly accelerated pace.
Why No Google or Facebook from India?
Some food for thought: The major problems that India has been facing post-independence revolve around issues such as poverty, lack of education, and basic human needs. This eliminates the scope of building something like a Google or a Facebook; as services that do not fall within the ambit of basic human necessities, they would be perhaps the last thing Indians would be concerned about. If a majority of the population is rather more concerned about arranging for the next meal, the brilliance of innovative minds could simply not be tapped. There was no latent interest within the market for their ideas, and that is precisely what happened in India.
Let’s not be too critical here.It is not that India does not possess the mental power to invent such tech products. Take a look at all the global technology companies. Most of them are headed by Indians which is further synergized by thousands of Indians working for them.Bose Corporation, the America-based global leader in consumer electronics, was founded by Amar Bose – son of an Indian revolutionary who had to flee to America due to his political activities in British reign.
Even within the country, it’s not that we have not had globally hailed entrepreneurs.Dhirubhai Ambani, Narayan Murthy, and the entire league of business magnets, they have all built world-class businesses from scratch and these businesses have had far greater impact on lives of Indians than maybe what Steve Job’s products would have had on American’s lives. Without taking any credit from people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Zuckerberg, let us stick to the fact that while these men have built world-class products, Indian entrepreneurs have been busy building the country.
Many people blame the cultural and educational system for lack of more innovative entrepreneurial ventures in India. No one can buy this theory. People who are real entrepreneurs are determined, smart, and ambitious.They know how to manage family, life, work, legal issues, politics, society, and what not. They don't make excuses. They do what they envisage to do and are gradually bringing a change in the country.
Look at companies like Flipkart, Paytm, Ola, Snapdeal, and Mu Sigma. These world class companies have been built by young Indians, who decided to go ahead with their dream and are now giving the foreign players a run for their money.This is a testimony to the fact that the startup culture is slowly picking up in the country.
The approaching disruption & its impact on India
Disruption in India is ubiquitous. Think about your life 5-10 years ago and compare it with that of today.Clearly, technology has entered our lives in a big way. We can purchase things on our mobiles, we can get a taxi by simply one touch on our smartphones, we don’t need to visit the banks for making any transactions and there are thousands of other examples.
While the disruption by technology is not expected to stop, moving forward, there will be bigger advances in the field of technology, artificial intelligence, manufacturing technologies or genomics. Robots or AI will start replacing humans not just in factories but also in many white-collar workspaces. The threat of disruption is widespread. And more than the disruption itself, it is the velocity of change that big and slow-moving companies are worried about.
In fact, there is a new report by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) that identifies a dozen technologies ranging from the mobile Internet to cloud computing to advanced genomics. These technologies can have a combined economic impact of up to $1 trillion a year by 2025.
Luckily for us, India will not be playing the catch-up role with the west this time around.A large number of Indians are doing economically well than their previous generations.The erstwhile problems that Indians were concerned with, including basic needs, are mostly solved. This has increased the impetus of our workforce on other aspects where India previously lagged.
Millions of such Indians hope for a better future and better standard of living as compared to now.And it will be a small set of people from these sections who will have the inclination to play a bigger role in future.
So with this background for future, we are quite confident that India will be producing popular technology products for the international markets as well as the local markets in years to come. And as that happens, it will redefine how the world looks at India from the technological perspective. More importantly, it will contribute to higher living standards for millions of Indians and will build the nation further. The approaching technological disruptions truly have the potential to catapult ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’in coming decades – reiterating its success stories and global dominance as witnessed by the past.