Monday, June 26, 2006

Demands of Globalization - Innovate, Educate & Convince

Two newsitems caught my attention in the Sunday morning edition of the Times of India. Both spoke of how India needs to gear up to the demands of globalization, that according to the New York Times famed columnist Mr. Thomas L Friedman, has created a level playing field for people and nations across the world
  1. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who had been in Bangalore yesterday to inaugurate the construction of Metro Rail, showered a few words of praise on the city's residents.
    "You have become the symbol of a new India, an India on the move, rising to fulfill its destiny on the world map. The success of IT revolution has placed the state on the world map. This is not an isolated success of a few people who work behind walls and inside air-conditioned rooms. This success has been made possible by the toil and commitment of millions of people.
    You also need to reinvent for the future if you have to maintain your lead. You need to invest looking the needs two decades from now. You need to keep the costs of living, working and doing business in Bangalore low"
  2. Another TOI headline screamed "Indian firms creating more jobs for Americans" Here are some excerpts...
    "American public should be educated about the role played by Indian companies in creating thousands of jobs as they expand their operations in the US to counter the impression that outsourcing was taking jobs to India", Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has said.

    "Indian companies are also helping to turn around American firms facing financial difficulties and US companies are getting a lot of business from India", Nath said launching the 'India Business Forum' here on Friday.
The first item clearly drives home the point that Indian Inc honchos have been trying to drill through for 2-3 years now. Innovate, innovate and innovate, for that is the only thing that differentiates companies today. Today's customer is so materialistic in his approach that he is easily bored by even a short term monotony in products or services. He is always looking out for that extra something that will pep up his experience of the service he has subscribed to or has added some zing to the product he plans to buy.

Innovation and globalization are linked too. Jay Dwivedi hits the hammer on the head when he says that innovation has to be part of a company's DNA from day one and can be managed literally in real time.
The days when you could make a plastic bottle, fill it with water, sit back, and see the sales grow each year, are long gone. Today, companies have figured out to make plastic bottles in China, ship empty bottles to Italy, fill them up with water from the Italian Alps, and then sell them at your local supermarket for half the price. Only an innovative company can thrive in this environment. The rest simply file for Chapter 11.
Companies going global have all the more reason to constantly innovate not just to cater to the ever changing tastes of the consumer, but also to reach out to as many varied markets as possible. John Stark speaks on the importance of innovation in the industry and what happens when you stop innovating.

The second part touches on how it is necessary to have the guts to tell the people, who have brushed against the wrong side of globalization, about the long term benefits of having embraced globalism. Globalism might have ignored them in the first wave, but nobody will be ignored for long, for globalization gives back what it takes, albeit in a different form.

While American IT companies are making a beeline to hire the best talent at cheap prices in India, Indian companies are hiring domain experts from Europe and North America to penetrate these markets. In the process Indian companies are giving a fresh lease of life to ailing companies in these countries by acquiring them and saving the jobs of the employees of these companies.

With Indian companies having survived the initial foray into going international and having quite proven that they have in them what it takes to succeed at the global level, it is now all about innovating to stay ahead and convincing hostile governments (and foreign, local media) that they do have nothing to lose by allowing Indian companies to operate from their own turf.

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