Innovation is the ability to solve problems in the most cost-effective way through improvements in quality, efficiency and productivity. It is new idea that is put into a valuable or profitable action. In this competitive scenario, it is extremely important for every business to constantly innovate in order to stay ahead of the curve. However, it is also crucial to build and sustain the innovation culture and explore the financial landscape for innovation.

Throwing light on the various aspects of innovation, Amity Innovation Incubator (AII) in association with TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) organised a day-long “Entrepreneurship and Innovation Summit” at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, on Friday last. Here are the five key takeaways from the Summit.

#1. Entrepreneurship and innovation are interlinked
“No entrepreneur can succeed without constant innovation; they are inter-connected,” highlighted Rahul Sharma, Co-Founder, Micromax Informatics. He shared the inspiring story of the evolution of Micromax from being an Indian startup software company aiming to be one of the top 10 mobile companies in the world. He said that innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand and it is necessary to bring innovative ideas to the marketplace to build a highly profitable business. Sharma pointed that innovation comes when one moves away from the conventional methods followed by the industry. He urged the entrepreneurs to understand their industry, identify the gaps within and address them with the aid of innovative ideas.

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#2. An idea becomes innovation only when it can be monetised
Every entrepreneur believes that his/her idea has the ability to solve problems profitably. But according to Harsh Kapoor, Innovation Lead, Monitor Deloitte, an idea becomes innovation only when it can be monetised. Amit Dubey, Co Founder & COO, Heuristics Info Systems, shared the story of his venture and stated that effort is required not just in developing an idea, but also in selling it to the target market. In order to sell the idea to the relevant target group, one needs to gather information about the market and get feedback about the idea from various groups. It is also important to identify the target audience to whom the idea can be sold.

#3. Approaching an incubator at an early stage is the best option
Business incubator is a multi-purpose entity that helps startups by providing business basics such as renting space, support services to marketing assistance, link to strategic partners, access to investors and much more. Hence, the experts opined that approaching an incubator at an early stage is the most feasible option. However, it is equally difficult to get accepted by an incubator. Ashwin Raguraman, COO, India Innovation Fund, stressed on the importance of the right approach to the right investor and the different kinds of investors who could be approached at various stages of setting up a successful business. According to Ritesh Banglani, Director, Helion Venture Partners, an investor looks into the quality and dedication of team towards the company and the market in which the business operates before investing in the business.

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#4. Innovation is difficult to sustain
India has a budding pool of innovative entrepreneurs but it is difficult to sustain the culture of innovation. There is a lack of discipline and an established environment to thrive innovation. The experts felt that in order to sustain innovation, the leaders have to give the freedom to think and the space to make mistakes. According to Sameer Narula, MD, August Capital Partners, many entrepreneurs suffer from insecurity. He added that rather than hiring people who are willing to accept everything, they should hire people who challenge them and their ideas. This will help in building innovative products constantly and enhancing processes. The companies have to be more organised and creative to build sustainability.

#5. Growing interest of the government towards innovation
B K Gairola, Member Secretary, National Innovation Council, shared the revolution heralded by innovation in the government sector. He stated that the government has announced 2010-20 as “Decade of Innovation” and shared that it is creating awareness about the importance of innovation by setting up sectoral and state councils. The government has also created inclusive innovation fund of Rs 5,000 crore to promote innovation in the country and in every sector, councils are being set up to promote and highlight creativity.