Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chinese Thinkers Indian Servers

There was an article this morning regarding the Bamboo innovation of Chinese concerns, amognst other things it bemoaned the fact that there was no real innovation springing out of China, where 'real innovation' had been conveniently coined as the concept of 'breakthrough products' only. (http://www.economist.com/node/18648264?story_id=18648264&fsrc=rss)

But the article contended that China did what it did well. That is, was unparalleled in combining technology and getting products at a low cost in the market, having flexible production lineups, getting in place new gadgets based on re-engineered products and costs.

Bottom line even if Chinese firms are developing more than creating, it still is fulfilling a real need for masses of people beyond the limits of China, that in my limited view is innovation in any case. I have been associated with the world of innovation in the past 2  years and have often struggled to define the term and what it means.

In the Indian context too there isnt all that much to rave about, the moment one removes the frugal/nano innovation from its scope. Large centers here have also resorted to deploying a lot of energy into reverse creating products, or at best ensuring that the products are tweaked here and there. Juggad innovations abound, but rarely are these spur of the moment engineering tricks taken to the commercial scale parameters that define an successful innovation.

What however is a difference in mindset in both the countries is the level of dedication to discipline and control. Having read Tiger Mom, there is a huge overlap in the social mindset towards living a life. My thinking aloud take on it is, this

1. Indians as a race are a very content lot. they want more for themselves and there families but as a societial thing, there is a deep level of resignation and hence acceptance of things being half baked. This acceptance often seeps into the standards that they then expect from themselves. The quaility of work, service, or even simple operations are glazed with a 'it sort of works so deal with it attitude' am no expert on China, but the feeling that I get is that standard of what is acceptable from others is higher and hence the output one delivers to the world is higher too. Of course the quality of work here too is often not the best, but each person attempts to do more

2.  Indian parents and Chinese parents, what makes one differ from the other, is the huge societial expectation that spurs the parental expectation. ie a indian parent often wants his child to do A/B or C because Mr sharmas son is doing these things and not otherwise, if the kid wanted to do something very path breaking like an X, there better be a commercial stance to it to make sense. Indian parents need to see everything have an end goal it must amount to something tangible, be it a better chance of getting admission, a revenue source or at the very least access to a better school.

The same thing applies to the child raising process. Keeping the window open only to the urban niche population the child rearing has become a treadmill job, there each child is made to do several things in the spam of a day. The intention being to expose and allow him to explore what all he can do. A mix of helicoptering and tiger mommying is done, but the key difference is that often its enough that the kid does these activities, without having to demonstrate excellence in any.

Thats the mindset again, as long as you are seen doing this or that, the need to be a champion is not that high, we are content to believe that something is happeneing, some growth will be done and let it go at that level.

Wonder how I reached here from where I began