Imagining India as an Innovation Society

India has not always wanted to be an innovation society. Merely ten years ago, conventional wisdom dictated that India should focus its efforts on industrialization. Then came the idea of an information economy, in which a technological infrastructure would direct all other economic activities. The question of building an innovation economy in India is a recent idea, emerging over the past few years, which was formally conceived with the constitution of the National Innovation Council.

If India is to embrace an innovation economy, there is still much to be done. Not only does the final goal need visioning and articulating, but also the implications for Indian society must be considered. What cultural aspects, value systems, or forms of organized behavior need to be given up for this goal? Or how can they be preserved? In order to create an innovation society, social connections must undergo change. There needs to be high levels of trust and participation to encourage entrepreneurship, and less exclusion and hierarchy. Strategic design, inclusiveness, and creativity must be fostered, but perhaps most importantly, a passion for change.

This panel will be chaired by Shanker Annaswamy, head of IBM India; Ashok Alexander, director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation India; Aditya Dev Sood, head of CKS in India; Sukumar Ranganathan, editor of MINT; and Arun Maira, member of the National Innovation Council.

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