Emtech India 2009
Finally got around to doing a quick summary of my takeaways for Emtech India 2009. I’ve mentioned before that my primary aim, which is also the aim of Emtech India, is to see what disruptive innovations will come from India, specifically Bottom of the Pyramid technologies. If India gets this right, it will unlock a lot of potential of its rural areas and slums.
What I came away with was there was plenty of innovation from the bottom of the pyramid. This series of Discovery Channel “My Technology” commercials shows it amply.
But what also came up in the conference was a certain sense of stuckness and tiredness, a repetition of what has been heard (like one laptop per child). What’s holding bottom of the pyramid developments back? I can certainly sense a lack of infrastructure to commercialise the innovations arising from the people living in the bottom of the pyramid, and a lack of infrastructure or incentives to scale it for mass production. mChek is the most promising app I came across, but is that it? Or was it Emtech India 2009 that did not do justice to this rich topic? I told the organisers that the discussions were not deep enough, plenty of banalities and corporate spiel I can put up with, but I want to hear business cases on what worked, what didn’t work. Having the MIT name will pull people to attend once, but it had better be good for the second or third round. I summed up some of my thoughts in a quick and dirty .ppt posted on slideshare below.The raw notes are on ipaper here.
I enjoyed interacting with the many MIT alumnis at the conference. So many MIT/IIT alums who also went to Sloan, Chicago, Stanford MBA schools, India’s elite brains are incredible. There is so much promise.