Friday, January 16, 2009

Innovation in the slow times!

It has been almost six months since I wrote on this blog. World changed at an accelarated pace in the mean while. India boom seems to have hit a road block or at least a bump. Banks after banks and comapnies afte companies in USA are lining up for bankruptcy. USA is doling out the steroids like a Hollywood movie, which may only last till the movie lasts...India is bearing the brunt of its economy having strong links to USA economy. Whatever was left, out friends at Satyam have blown it off. It was clear the 2009 is going to be tough, but now it appears that it will be tougher.

On the other hand, how is Innovation industry seeing this all? Will companies stop the expenditure on all that belongs to future (including heavy R&D and Design) or will they use this time to gain some muscles through research and innovation? Will they outsource more or will they do it all inhouse to retain the jobs? The two sides of the story are all doing the equal rounds.

Time and again our clients are asking a question, as if it adds to our readiness and capability -"have you guys been affected by the slowdown?"
Well our answers is "No....so far so good".

The fact is barring afew projects which were to come from USA, the project pipeline is as thick as it had been. There is client who is planning to invest several million dollars in land acquisition in the next few months, another one is planning a complete new range of kitchenware lauch in India, another one is gearing up for new age toys for children etc etc. They are not talking of cutting costs. They are not talking of slow-down language. Another client DRDO (Indian DefenceResearch) is totally slowdown proof. A client of ours makes energy meters and this market is again has minimal effect of world situation. Megaprojects which have several years as timeline, companies that work in energy, food, essential commodities and basic services are not slowing down. Hero Honda the motor bike making company from India has shown GROWTH in this year (amazing...), which proves the point that all those companies who were livin by the ad expenditures are nose-diving now, while companies who live by the shear quality of their products andservices are here to stay put.

There are lessons to be learn for the next cycle. Up up and higher is not the way World goes , all the time. Innovation companies need to keep a good mix of clients who are riding the waves along with the clients who are staple-cruisers. Post-dotcom times, this is a reminder to all of us.

All ye who Innovate

"He who innovates, will have enemies in all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and will find only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new"
-Niccollo Machiaveli