Dan Breznitz in his HBR Blog Why Germany Dominates the U.S. in Innovation brilliantly brings out the differences between the American and German Innovation. He talks about difference in focus in both the countries. In America the focus is on high end technical innovations that tend to stand out from the rest of the industry, while in Germany the innovations are integral part of the old industries. The Americans focus on innovating to make the industry more mechanical and get rid of as many people as possible using these innovations. On the other hand, Germany focusses on empowering the people through innovations and that is one reason it has remained on top of old world, traditional industries like automobiles. Germany also has systems and processes in place to integrate the innovators and the ones who apply their innovations for industrial purposes. It mentions organizations that play the role of bringing various players together to make innovations more meaningful. He gives a good example of IT engineers who would go and work in automobile industry in Germany which is not so usual in America.
I think the bigger lesson here is what should the policy makers do to make their countries more innovative. It also brings out the difference between pre play innovation that may or may not have a practical utility ( now or later) and the applied innovation that obviously benefits the humanity in general. While I do not rule out the importance of high end technical innovations – whose applications may not be visible immediately, it is important to keep an eye on the applications of the innovations and how they can benefit different communities.
I am trying to see where does Indian Innovations lie beyond the now famous Jugaad.