Barriers to Innovation & the Creation of a Knowledge Society in India
In this paper, we identify the principal societal, systemic, organizational and governmental barriers to innovation and the creation of a knowledge society in India. Societal barriers include an ambivalent attitude towards knowledge, a 'knowing-doing gap', hesitation to specialize, a static view of technology, intolerance of failure, and a declining respect for diversity and dissent. A lack of design and experimentation in engineering curricula, lack of cooperation between firms, lack of depth in different industries, absence of a culture of debate, and barriers to the founding and growth of high technology firms are systemic barriers. Organizational barriers to innovation start from a lack of ambition and vision at the top, and include the perception of loss of control by owner managers in issues related to technology development, inadequate investment in plant and machinery, the lack of the right people. and skills, and hierarchical structures. The government does not give enough flexibility to organizations under its control and emphasizes procedures over results. Long decision cycles, inappropriate choice of priority areas, and biases against start~ups in governmental support programmes for research and development are other governmental barriers to innovation.