Open letter to NR Narayana Murthy Want innovation Why not start with Infosys
Blog Friday, July 17, 2015 - 05:30

By The Kaipulla, with inputs from @pradx42  

Dear Narayana Murthy, Y

ou are the doyen of an Indian industry. So when you say that NO innovation in India happened in the last 60 years, people are bound to listen to you. What they do not do, on the other hand, is dissect the statement. 1. Before you blame the educational institutions, the politicians, political ideologies and the norse God of thunder, it would be nice if you introspected a bit. What have you done for innovation?

Your company recruits thousands of young and eager engineers whose minds are fresh and enthusiasm is plenty. And what do you do with them? If they don't waste their precious youth sitting on a bench, in an AC room, waiting for a project to materialize, you make a mechanical engineer slog on Java code and make an Electrical engineer bust his backside on Oracle?  So how can they innovate, when they are not given the space and opportunity to do so? How can they innovate when your company is majorly responsible for sucking them into this vortex of mediocrity? 2. Let us talk about the "innovation" that happens in Infosys. And please, how much ever you try to convince us, Global Delivery Centre and 24 Hour work day are not innovations. They have been in the US, since the 1930's. Other than Finacle, what major IT Product have you given to the world?

I could be sympathetic if you didn't have money because, hey, innovation is expensive! But you are sitting on a cash reserve of $4.1 Billion, which is close to Rs. 20,000 crore. If anyone in the country could have spent on innovation, it was you. But you did not. Your annual expenditure on R&D has been consistently reducing over the last three years. It was Rs 907 crore in 2013, Rs 873 crore in 2014 and believe it or not, Rs 605 crore in 2015. Forget the entire country Mr Murthy, your own company is cutting down on innovation.

So please look inwards before you question why cash strapped universities don’t innovate. 3. And finally, innovation does not necessarily mean inventing light bulbs or creating websites where you can stalk others. Innovation is bigger than that, and that is happening in India. We could not have gone from a wheat importing nation to a food-surplus country, without innovation. We did not transform from a country that imported milk powder to being the world's largest milk producer without innovation. We did not send a rocket to Mars, and we didn't gain the capability to launch satellites without innovation.  Innovation happens everyday in rural India. Just that you don't see it, or you do not know about it. Innovation is happening in India, Mr Murthy. It is just that your definition of innovation is different.  

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