Innovation and Technology

The role of innovation in fostering and sustaining economic growth of nation states is now fairly well established. Innovation is the commercial introduction of new processes and products, essentially by firms. There are two different aspects of innovation that has merited the attention of researchers. First, is the generation of innovation and second is its diffusion within the economy. It was initially believed that the generation and diffusion of innovation happened in splendid isolation by the firm through its investments in R&D. However, towards the beginning of the 1990s, this view of generation and diffusion of innovation has undergone many radical changes. First of the changes is the systemic perspective in the generation of innovation. It is now increasingly recognised that the economy consists of a number of actors like the government, the higher education system, research institutes, business enterprises and so on and innovative activity is due to the interactions between these elements or actors in the system. This perspective or framework is generally referred to as the National System of Innovation (NSI).  Nations, which possess robust NSI are supposed to grow faster than those, which have fragmented systems. Second, is the view that nations catch up with the rest on the basis of having innovative sectors or industries and in some cases sub national regions. Viewed in this perspective the sectoral and regional systems of innovation are more relevant to understanding the generation and diffusion of innovation. Third, is the view that innovations are also generated through a whole host of non-R&D routes, which have been laid bare by innovation surveys, done across the developing and developed countries. Fourth, is the fact that organisational and marketing innovations are also equally important as product or process innovations, although this aspect is much less understood. Fifth, a large number of innovations, especially through the non R&D route, emanate from the unorganised sector as well.  A number of research studies reflective these five concerns or dimensions are currently undertaken at the Centre.