Where are India's thought leaders?

How many Indian businesses are using the current outsourcing boom to lay the foundations for their long term success through innovation and knowledge? Some of the larger companies are, that is well known. But how many businesses are just too busy getting on with the job? If too many are just coping with current demands, just getting on with the job, then they are laying shaky foundations for the future.

It must be tempting for business and government leaders to feel either confident or overwhelmed by demand. After all, positive indicators for the Indian economy are a stable 8-per cent annual growth, rising foreign exchange reserves of more than $150 billion, a booming capital market with the "Sensex" just short of the 11,000 mark, flowing foreign direct investment in excess of $10 billion and a 25 per cent surge in exports. What a great success story!

But it would be potentially tragic for the Indian economy in the long term if current leaders felt that they had got it all, or that they had too much to do or that the current success story will just keep on flowing. Busy as these leaders are, they must use the good times to find time for innovation, because without this leadership, where will the Indian economy be in 10 or 20 years time?

We often debate whether "what you know" or "who you know" are the most important for success, yet in many ways this is a false debate. After all, to succeed in business you need both; but to truly succeed long term you need to build an innovation and knowledge driven organisation.

Today, it is the ability that a company has to assimilate and act on change that will determine its fate. Dr Sattar Bawany is the leader for Mercer's Singapore Global Information Business and he urges organisations to develop an innovative knowledge driven culture through:

  • introducing and managing innovative thinking
  • promoting "intrapreneurship"
  • training and support for information sharing
  • creating a climate pro knowledge and innovation

As Dr Bawany says "If a knowledge management system is right for your company, the benefits seem endless," but he also warns that in order to see results a company should have the proper training, technology and employee cooperation.