MoUs need to be backed by government policies to upgrade knowledge base and skill sets to attract investments

Bengaluru: “Karnataka needed to go beyond its success in IT and ITeS and do something disruptive. We did not want to remain the hub of back-office operations of the world. That is the reason we repositioned ourselves and eventually we made a name in IoT, Big Data, Analytics and much more. Thus, we emerged as innovation leaders — from agriculture to aerospace,” said IT & BT and Tourism Minister, Government of Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, while delivering the keynote address during the visionary leadership summit, ‘Re-launch India’, on 11th February (Saturday) 2017. The summit was hosted by the Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM) students of IIM Bangalore, associated by the Centre for Software & Information Technology Management (CSITM) of IIM Bangalore.
Minister Kharge related his own experiences in relaunching, rebranding and repositioning Brand Karnataka. “The policy of the Karnataka Government has been ‘ideate, innovate and invent’. We have encouraged strong partnership between R&D centres and industry and allocated funds for innovation and invention. All these have created the ecosystem, knowledge base and skill sets. But just ecosystem and funds are not enough. As we need skill sets to stimulate innovation, centres of excellence have been opened so that investment flows seamlessly. We have acquired overseas partners to bring in the ecosystem, which will make our graduates more employable. We have close to INR 200 crore to ensure that innovation and inventions happen in Bengaluru.” He spoke about the Karnataka Government’s partnership with Dassault Systems in opening a centre of excellence in aerospace management. “Our policies are well-entrenched to assure that industries across verticals flourish, and we are defining the next in technologies. Karnataka is now future-ready for the state, the country and the world.” He quoted Pandit Nehru and said Bengaluru is a picture of future, it will be in the forefront for launching or relaunching India.
“But as a country, we need a re-think. Just signing MoUs is not enough. We need to ensure that policies are executed. We need to upgrade skill sets too. With the ecosystem, knowledge base and skill sets, investments will come. All governments need to step back and see if we just need the MoUs or we want to boost skill sets and increase employability. Only when we do this we will be able to invite investments and make ideas happen.”
Set up as an envisioning exercise, the summit, organized by students of the Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM) at IIM Bangalore, deliberated on the steps to be taken to launch India in the global arena in areas such as manufacturing, start-up and digital power, based on innovative technologies and business capabilities.
Against the backdrop of the surge in emphasis on manufacturing, digitalization and start-ups, the larger issue is how fast and how far and in what manner India can attain its status as a ‘transformed global power’ that provides a new sense of empowerment not only for its citizens but also for the larger world community. The summit aimed to address the following themes: India as a civilizational power, India as a global digital power, India as a new age manufacturing giant and India as the cradle of new innovative start-ups.
Earlier in the day, while inaugurating the summit, Director Incharge Prof. R Srinivasan said, “IIMB is an institution where knowledge is created and transferred. Make in India is very relevant in the city of Bengaluru which is the city of innovation and start-ups, and in IIM Bangalore in particular. But we, as a country, need to ensure that words, such as relaunch India, are turned to action.”
Dr. Seema Gupta, Chairperson, Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management, said: “The country is rightly poised to take off in terms of being one of the leaders in the manufacturing and digital space in the world, but it takes a lot of execution. Indians are socio-economically and academically well-placed across the world and this is the right time to rise and make a significant impact.”
The meet featured senior corporate captains and leading start-up protagonists who shared their experiences and vision. The inaugural session on ‘Re-launch India as the new Global Leader’, was followed by the special plenary session ‘Realizing our New Age Manufacturing Capabilities’, featuring Phil Shaw, CEO, Lockheed Martin Pvt. Ltd., Srivats Ram, MD, Wheels India Ltd., Brian Mcmurray, VP, General Motors, Patrick Fardeau, VP, Dassault Systems, Rajeev Kaul, Group CFO and Managing Director, Aequs, and Ranjini Manian, CEO, Global Adjustments. The session was moderated by IIMB’s Prof. A Damodaran, IPR Chair on IP Management (MHRD).
The panel covered the topics in terms of vision, steps and strategies to optimize the country’s competitiveness, in a sustainable way for the relaunch. Phil Shaw spoke at length about joint ventures, specifically the partnership of his own firm in India to support its global supply chain and said that the ease of doing business in India is more now compared to what it was 6-7 years back. “Why should we choose India as a destination for investment? Because of the size of the workforce, young age of the workforce, competitive cost of labour, minimal immigration issues, etc. However, in the defence manufacturing sector, the government can encourage more FDIs, look for global supply chains, make defence procurements more predictable, promote more R&D in aerospace and defence and encourage more investments to come in.”
Srivats Ram remarked that we need to look at the international context too, where there is lot of protectionism in developed nations and regional sourcing. India has achieved great technologic advances. Now what is needed is a change of mind-set that we too can bridge the gap with advanced countries, and meet the innovation and manufacturing challenge with the best in the world. Higher goals lead to higher accomplishments. We too have the same tools as the rest of the world. Capital costs have come down. FDIs are coming in. We need to use the Make in India platform to boost our capabilities and aspirations. With all the advantages India too can be integrated in the protectionist world.”
Brian Mcmurray chose to speak about the emotional connection, in the context of today’s discussion. He spoke about great leaders like A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Nelson Mandela and said leadership is vital as to how and why you can contribute. “Without leadership, results will not come. Leaders need to inspire teams, make them understand the ‘why’, leaders need to have the ability to listen to get perspectives. It is not about being in charge, but about taking care of those in our charge. Leadership is not about tiles, but about character. Your character is on display when you are a leader and you will be judged based on that.” He pointed out that failure is important to learn and not repeat same mistakes, and to persist. “Moreover, the ability to listen can help leaders get perspective. Being vulnerable and human is ok as it shows you are genuine in what you do.” He summed up by saying leadership is 10% skills and 90% character. Great leaders take complex problems and communicate them in simple terms. True leaders inspire us with their strong values and build trust. “Enjoy your journey – should comprise a lot of little steps, there is no one giant step that does it”.
Patrick Fardeau said that innovation, and a new world of imagine and design, is the engine of Make in India. He listed few facilitators for this like new innovation centres, additive manufacturing and accelerations from concept to take off up to 50%. Technical and other capabilities make the country ideal to excel in Make in India. Best practices will secure a place in the future too.”
Rajeev Kaul discussed core capabilities and accomplishments of his own firm, and said right people and right values are vital. Opportunities and market exists in India today. We have the right global partners too, that drive the ecosystem. In India, IT has given us an edge, now a change in mind-set is needed for India become competitive globally.”
Ranjini Manian spoke about intercultural learnings, in the context of our global partners, which is an important part of doing business. She said, to become an augmented force of Indian manufacturing, as a culture, we need to be PROUD, which is an acronym for: Proactive (in communicating the big picture), Respectful (relate even without business), Oriented (to long-term solutions), Understandable (regarding intentions) and Direct (in communication).
All the members agreed that India is at the right spot, and the time is right too, for a relaunch. The correct initiatives including joint ventures with overseas partners need to be taken, so that India reaches the spot where it really matters in terms of manufacturing potential and achieves world-class supply chains.
The afternoon session on ‘Realizing India’s Potential as a Digital Power’ featured Reena Dayal, Microsoft, Samson Khaou, MD, Dassault Systems India, Ajit Kumar, MD, Deloitte Digital, Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, NASSCOM Foundation, Saurabh Chandra, Head of Apps (Digital) and IT, Myntra & FlipKart Group.
The day’s events drew to a close with a summary of the discussions by a team of PGPEM students at IIMB.