ISB Updates

The Innovation Educators’ Conference: A Step Forward

The times have changed. In our days, we had to worry about surviving. Today, our children have a better life. They can take risk. India now is ready for the age of innovation,” Sam Pitroda, Chairman of National Innovation Council said at the Innovation Educators’ Conference, held at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. The conference organized by the Biocon Cell for Innovation Management at ISB brought together academicians, consultants, trainers, policymakers, and top executives. Professor Rishikesha Krishnan of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, who co-chaired the conference, noted that the impetus for innovation cannot be achieved unless the educators learn how to create that environment at the schools, colleges, universities, and corporations and that was the focus for the two-day summit.

A provocative panel discussion with industry leaders Venkatesh Valluri of Ingersoll Rand, Sanjay Correa of GE India Technology Centre, Ananth Krishnan of TCS and Bobby Mitra of Texas Instruments, moderated by Professor Charles Dhanaraj of ISB, co-Chair of the conference, identified major challenges faced by companies in innovation, and outlined their expectations from Indian academia. Referring to the dramatic changes in the business context, Ananth Krishnan noted, “In the past, companies expected skill from the universities. And the universities delivered. Now, it is changing to creativity and innovation. And I am sure that the universities will rise up to that.”

Several parallel sessions such as Innovation Training Methodologies in Companies, Skill Enhancement to Foster Innovation, Designing New Institutions and Programs for Innovation, Designing Innovation Programs in Companies, presented by over 30 speakers from industry and academia, saw packed audiences and lively debates. The day ended with an author’s panel and book signing with leading authors. Interactive paper sessions in the evening provided a platform for young innovators to showcase their ideas.

A prototype of a comprehensive India Innovation handbook showcasing the best R&D institutions and mapping the geography of innovative enterprises in India was also released. The plenary panel comprising eminent personalities such as Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission and National Advisory Council, Dr. Johan Roos, former President, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Dr. M.S. Ananth, Director, IIT Madras, discussed how universities could foster and encourage innovative minds and where they have failed. A highlight of the second day was the ‘Advancing Innovation: A Blue Print for Action Brainstorming sessions’ with industry and academic leaders and conference delegates co-creating an agenda for future action.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon, Dr. Mohan Rao of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB), Dr. Johan Roos and Professor Rishikesha Krishnan wrapped up the conference with the final panel session, “Decade of Innovation:Taking the Agenda Forward.” Presenting the closing address, Mazumdar-Shaw challenged, “It is time to act. We know what to do. We need to have to the courage to do it.”

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean of ISB noted that, “I am pleased to note that ISB has played a significant role in bringing together such a diverse group of people to consider a topic of strategic importance to our nation. I believe that the action plans generated at the conference will serve as a blue print towards building an innovation nation.”