Indian innovation is like ‘Sewing without cloth’

Is Appovation = Innovation = Invention?

There is so much focus nowadays on IT, Digital India, connectivity, bandwidth, 4G and apps being developed by all and sundry as a solution for every conceivable problem that I fear we are running ahead of ourselves.

India and Indians took to the digital revolution as a duck to water. The reasons are multi fold and the subject matter for another post.

It would be wrong to judge the effects of this thrust as just good or bad. It certainly has done some good and also an equal amount of bad. So the right approach would be to judge it in context. The context here being, if we, as a nation, should take our collective skill in churning out apps to solve social problems as the real solution to the problem?

Going by the euphoria I sense around me in mainstream and social media, it would appear  we already are. Then the next question would be, have these apps really solved some, any, if not all our problems? I say no.

IMHO most apps are just a personalized, shortcut direct access program to an otherwise conventional website, residing on your device.

And as usual, we Indians took the easy way out. Solution to a complex, real life traffic problem – launch an app. Garbage problem – launch an app. Women and child safety – launch an app. Police indifference – launch an app.

So, where did we miss the plot?

Agreed, a baker will bake, a tanner will tan and an Indian will cut ‘n paste code.

But should’nt we broaden our ‘innovative prowess’ a tad bit?  Look at Uber, a cab aggregator. When people had problems getting a cab ride, they wrote a program, designed a database and launched an app. Then they went around signing up cabbies and wooing commuters, in the US of A. But in India, even though the need was real and essentially the same program or ‘App’ would have succeded, they first had to link it to the reality on the ground. We had no cabs to aggregate. That was a bummer and since Uber was not an eyewash solution to placate a frustrated society, they tackled the real world problem, a herculean task, ere the launch/success of the ‘app’.

Digital India without physical India is like a sewing machine’s complex knots without the cloth. Beautiful, almost erotic in appearance, but totally useless and easily unravelled.