Thursday, July 07, 2011

Book Review: Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled Off the Impossible by Porus Munshi

Why are Indians so good at jugaad (improvisation or quick-fixing) but not at systemic innovation? What makes them better innovators when they reach foreign shores but not within our own country? Is our “system” built to stifle innovation? If there are innovators who succeed within “our system” are there lessons to be extrapolated from such successes? And can these innovations be applied across sectors – private, public, and social?

Built around 11 case studies of Indians who made “orbit shifting innovation” possible across the private, public and social sectors in our country, Porus Munshi’s book Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled Off The Impossible talks about overcoming the “impossible”.

Examples in the book include that of a Hyderabad-based biotech company that developed a low-cost Hepatitis-B vaccine and made it globally affordable, a watch manufacturer that created the slimmest, water-resistant watch in the world – something that even the fabled Swiss watchmakers contended was impossible, and a police force that rewrote policing paradigms to bring law, order, and confidence in the police system in a communally volatile South Indian city, thus transforming it.

I would put this book on par with IDEO general manager Tom Kelley’s best-selling books The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation. What sets this book apart is its relevance to “the Indian condition” and its focus on insights that enable breakthrough innovation. The innovative storytelling approach is sure to inspire every reader to set out on a similar journey.

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