Where is the real Innovation Happening

Vijay Govindrajan and Gunjan Bagla in their HBR blog Emerging-Market Engineers Power Global Innovations inadvertently point out a media flaw that in its Global 100 reports lists the companies from the developed world only, discounting the captive R&D centers of these companies that are located in emerging markets like India and Chine, discounting the outsources or bought over research elements that fueled the core innovations of these companies. It also looks at the media agencies the flawed approach of looking at the number of patents filed as a key criterion for the Innovativeness of a company and disregarding the real companies and people behind the innovation.

Authors give examples of Innovations that were done in India and elsewhere that were eventually credited to a company from the developed economy. They give brilliant examples from GE to Otis Elevators and Jabil circuit, all of whom have research links leading to India. They also talk about Compal Electronics of Taiwan that is behind the success of big names like HP, Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, and Siemens. Somewhere researchers also need to differentiate between companies that produce innovations and those who package and market innovations.

This leads me to a question would authors who are not of Indian or Eastern origin looked at this report from this angle? Is there a skew in our evaluations depending upon where we come from? This leads to another question does having a diversity in your research team becoming a necessity rather than a social equity requirement?

Time to think!

Anuradha Goyal