"Dump the jugaad, look for original solutions"

Venkatesh Valluri, chairman and president, Ingersoll Rand India, on five ways to encourage local innovation

Do your homework: Choose and play in an area that is likely to grow and have an impact. Ensure you know: the size of the market, what competitors are doing and what technology you need to deploy. Look for ways to get through the next five to seven years.

Work with multiple partners: Innovation doesn’t mean you need to do everything afresh. We are currently working on technology to prevent food perishing en route from farm to store. But we can’t do it by ourselves, so we’re collaborating with logistics players, truck makers, IT firms and so on.

Look beyond product innovation: A few years ago, we began hiring young entrepreneurs instead of management graduates. We funded them for two years with no risks and taught them how to collaborate and work with our engineering and design centres. Many are now creating new markets, based on our technology and solutions.

Think local: Most global innovation centres of MNCs act as engines for their international work. At Ingersoll Rand, only 60% of the workforce services global needs. The remaining are Indians working for India, developing technology solutions relevant to the local market that could have a rub-off effect globally. 

Jugaad is a waste of time: Despite all the books and papers that have been written about how jugaad epitomises the Indian spirit of innovation, it doesn’t get you respect. Look for original solutions and innovate for India.