A couple of decades ago, we in India used to look upto the Western World, Russia and Japan for the things that they made … watches, calculators, machines, electronics, universities, hotels, everything. What we made was either consumed by us or exported abroad to be bought back at a very high cost after some value addition to it. However, things have changed now!
India is yet to produce a Google, Apple, Microsoft, BMW, McKinsey, but we have many unique things such as Indica, Taj Hotels, Infosys, Flipkart, Mars Orbiter and so on. Also, Indian students and professionals are in huge numbers in the teams of such global firms, may it be Microsoft, Google, 3M, GE, IBM… These organisations would not be what they are without the folks who schooled in India. Look at yet another dimension of outsourcing where business processes are designed, improved and run very much by Indians in India. All these cases show us that India is making new things each day for the globe. Often, we criticise our education system, the policies, the assessment framework, the tutors and the environment. If all of these are bad, how are our young people doing such innovative things each day? I think, we need to appreciate our schools a bit more. Of course, there are learnings and we must pick them up and make things better!
We can closely examine the profiles of such people who are doing path-breaking work, we can observe a few things. Firstly, it is the environment which promotes the culture of competitiveness, collaboration, challenging the status quo, no fear of failure and the pursuit of excellence. Secondly, it’s the global nature of the economy where knowledge, capital and commerce has been flowing freely in various industry sectors. This helps competitiveness and collaboration amongst people irrespective of their nationality. What matters is the capability and willingness of the person. Thirdly, it’s the foundation that a kid gets in his/her early stage of life at home and school that shapes one’s beliefs; and hence, the thoughts and actions. Many of our kids are discouraged to challenge the status quo, pushed to comply with various norms rather than take risks and get trained to tolerate mediocrity. This needs certainly a change!
Like our PM has launched a program for cleanliness or President Obama urged the American kids to study Science subjects, India must launch a program to make the countrymen pursue excellence and shun mediocrity. Over the next decade, many more people will be ready to make something new and thus, deliver higher value in whatever job that they do. Higher value is always associated with higher prosperity. This is easier said than done!
Charity begins at home. So, the youth in each home needs to learn to first believe that s/he can make a difference to their future and their families if they excelled in whatever they did each day of their life. They need to believe that the world is their stage and they need to excel in their field of work to secure their future. Our teachers in the schools and colleges need to push for this change; the policemen on the roads need to demonstrate this; the movie-people need to tell the same story! The change will happen! Our policymakers must aim to make ‘Made in India’ a global hallmark.
The world will slowly move towards India because the consuming class is in huge numbers here; the talent required for centres of research, design and development is here in India. The Top Leaders of many global firms will gravitate towards India. We have a great opportunity to lead the world in the next few decades! Raise the bar!