Decoding 'jugaad', India's unique brand of innovation'
Everyone has a different definition of effective leadership, and their own idea of what constitutes it. However, if there are a few ingredients we can all agree on, they’re collaboration, entrepreneurship, passion and commitment. These are just a few of the themes at the heart of ICICI Bank and CNBC-TV18’s ‘India Business Summit – Leaders Speak’, editions of which have been bringing some of the country’s keenest minds together to deliberate upon the future of business and arguably, the country at large. Taking place in six major cities, the Summit has served as a melting pot of ideas by kickstarting conversations that are fostering a “can do” spirit within the nation. In fact, its star-studded lineup so far has included heavyweights like Sanjiv Goenka, R. Dinesh, Aditya Agarwal, Dr. A Velumani, Bhavish Aggarwal and Sonam Wangchuk, among many others. 

Following successful editions in Pune, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai, the most recently concluded event in Ahmedabad had some big shoes to fill. However, it was no exception, taking on the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit, which has driven India’s remarkable growth story. Featuring a dazzling speech by all-rounder Kapil Dev, the evening highlighted the importance of innovation through a myriad of perspectives – right from that of a sporting legend to a revered academic. 


“There are a hundred ways to reach the top,” said Kapil Dev in his rousing address, which stressed upon the need for entrepreneurs to find their own path. He charted the example of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli, polar opposites who have each made an indelible mark in the history of their game. Two indispensable traits they do have in common? Passion and commitment.

His sentiments were echoed by Padma Shri awardee Prof. Anil Gupta, who is one of the first people that springs to mind when you think about innovation and entrepreneurship in India. Talking about how we mustn’t merely emulate the model of the West, the founder of the Honey Bee Network noted, “Technology is like a word, institution is like grammar, and culture is the thesaurus. We need all three for sustainable innovation.


Prof. Gupta’s wise words were followed by a panel discussion that brought leaders from a variety of fields together to talk about the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit. The discussion was brimming with knowledge, which was unsurprising given its distinguished participants – Prasanna Balachander, Head – Global Markets & Proprietary Trading Group, ICICI Bank; MAS Financial Services Founder & CMD Kamlesh Gandhi; Raju Shah, CMD, Harsha Engineers; Ashish Soparkar, MD, Meghmani Organics; and Janmejay Vyas, CMD, Dishman Group.


Each of the distinguished participants shared the mantra that has helped them build and grow their enterprises. One crucial element of innovation that came up in the course of the discussion was dissent. “We never learn from the people who agree with us,” Ashish Soparkar noted. “We always learn from the people that disagree with us.” 

Dissent isn’t the only ingredient needed for entrepreneurship, though. Janmejay Vyas pointed out that there’s no substitute for doing your homework, which was backed up by Raju Shah of Harsha Engineers, which has always made training and development a top priority. Additionally, inculcating a deep-seated respect for the customer also goes a long way, added Kamlesh Gandhi, noting that companies should always seek to explore new opportunities and situations rather than exploit them. Summing things up was the financier’s perspective, with Prasanna Balachander’s observation that financiers invest in entrepreneurs, not balance sheets. Passion, an eye for industry trends, a problem-solving disposition and ambition, coupled with knowing when to take one’s foot off the pedal, are some of the traits he cited as being essential for a successful innovator. 

With all these insights, and more still to come, the India Business Summit has become a veritable source of knowledge and information, not just for achieving excellence in business, but in life at large. The ideas born out of these sessions are paving the way for more disruptive innovations, increasingly sustainable businesses and India’s continued growth.