Why we struggle to build innovative companies?
Why we struggle to build innovative companies?

Why we struggle to build innovative companies?

There is always a question in the global and Indian media, “Why can’t India build a Apple, Microsoft or Google or any other innovative company?”. There are many answers, which I call reasons.

I have few theories as to why we face these challenges and is there a way we can address these. These theories do not just apply to building innovative companies, but also apply to our kind of living.

Constant “Follow me” instructions

Our education system is good, but many things changed from the Gurukul system to today’s education system. Times have changed but we have stopped incorporating the learnings into today’s text books. How many of you remember Moral Science? Today, this subject is not even taught in many schools.

Education should teach self confidence and ability to solve problems. But, unfortunately, only few are able to learn these either from parents or seeing the society. Today, predominantly, we do not ask questions to learn, but only to check if the teacher knows or not. Students are not encouraged to explore outside the box, but the pressure is on completing the syllabus and writing exams. What after the exams? Ranks. These ranks are useless and do not help in anything.

We do not identify the uniqueness of each student, but just focus on mass teachings. There are many movies which pointed this out, but we do not incorporate any of the learnings, but enjoy the movie and walk out.

The same attitude continues to work. Almost all companies today hire Graduates based on their marks and train them they way they need them to work, but very rarely people are hired based on their skill and knowledge. What happens then? These freshers fall into the trap of working long hours and solving problems in the way their managers ask them to solve. Here too, if an employee thinks different, manager has a problem.

As time goes by, these new joinees become managers and the cycle repeats. Where do we end this?

Few people quit their jobs and try to do something different, start their own company and industry and as the company grows, new people come into the picture and again, the cycle continues. It is very rare for an individual to become a leader.

It’s mostly “follow my orders” rather than “what do you think” attitude.

So, where is the time to innovate?

Constant Pressure for making money

How much are you making is what defines the standard of living. It will decide how you live and where your kids go to school. The cycle repeats.

In a society where there is constant pressure for making more money, it becomes difficult to innovate. Innovation takes time and dedication and during this time, limited or no funds will kill the innovation process.

Failure is rewarded with coldness

Many organisations talk about innovation, hold seminars and workshops and pretend to encourage individuals to think different, but when they actually do and try to do something, if the idea fails, employees are treated cold. So, many individuals I know don’t tend to take the initiative because of the fear of failure.

One innovative idea comes to life only after at least 100 failed attempts. If one failure decides the fate of the employee, why will anyone think of doing something different?


Let us accept, bureaucracy exists everywhere, in the US, In India and any other country. Across the Governments and also across the private organisations. Even the so called innovative companies have bureaucracy built into the system. It is not wrong. However, designing the organisation to overcome this and encourage innovative team thinking is what makes the difference and for this, leadership should take a strong stand.

Evolution of open economy

In India, the economy opened in the 90’s which enabled a lot of western companies to open their extensions in India.

When foreign companies open offices in India, 99.99% of the time it is to get some back-end work done. Employees here are only instructed to follow their motherships. So, we are used to following. Undoing this mind-set needs a very strong leadership, which very rarely happens.

In Summary, all I am saying is that we should find ways to build innovative mindset with small steps by designing a new way of working. This will take time and until then, big innovations coming out of extended offices will be difficult. Not only this, the social stigma also does not allow for thinking different, one needs a very strong personality to achieve this.

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