A Walk to Work, A Leap to Innovation

As I walk through the street from my home to the co-working space where I work, I feel a strong sense of transformation in the work culture of Bangalore. A few years back, this beautiful city was named the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India. Rightly so, it was home to some of the world’s biggest IT and ITES services companies and over the years emerged as the software and R&D subcontracting centre for many multinationals.

As a result, the city went through an elaborate makeover including small, non-descript offices converting into plush high rise buildings, empty land on the city outskirts revamped into fancy technology parks. Fancy homes, multi-chain restaurants and shopping malls were built to cater to the fancies of these young IT professionals and their families. The middle class Indians became more conscious about what to wear and how to carry themselves. There seemed to be a sense of discipline in their demeanor and sense of dressing.

Today, as I walk through the streets, I see a remarkable difference. The closed board rooms and the stiff upper lip of junior colleagues and new joiners seems to have been replaced by open brainstorming corridors, less prominent hierarchies and a new found respect for those who believe in bringing their ideas into action. A strong community of engineers with global work experience, savvy customers and growing pools of early-stage capital, are transforming the city into a global startup hub. The drive to set up new ventures from scratch with frugal resources and a promising idea, seem to be latest trend. The ‘start-up’ culture as people speak of, has hit Bangalore like never before. The local roadside stalls of tea and snacks have sprung up, once again, to cater to the  endless discussions over coffee and meetings over lunch. 

When I reach my co-working space, I am amazed by the spirit of enterprise that surrounds me. Dozens of new companies building products in information technology, healthcare, education and retail, are seen brainstorming, conducting SWOT analysis, pitching to potential investors and networking with potential customers. I wonder if this is truly the era of innovation for India. From being a predominantly agrarian economy to making the massive jump to a services led economy, India now seems to have taken a step back to innovate and create from scratch. The economy is gradually moving towards one that was heavily dependent on technology transfer to one that develops its own technology. 

Additionally, many of these start-ups are also being setup by visionary entrepreneurs who seek to combine a passion for innovation with the desire to do social good. Many startups in the domain of mobility services, clean energy, education, access to finance etc. have integrated socially responsible practices with the objective of making profit. There is no doubt that there is something inherently attractive and appealing about entrepreneurs and their stories of growth. However, in our stories of these enterprises and the visionary entrepreneurs as their creators, we often neglect to highlight a leading character- the intrapreneur. Follow my next blog to know more about them!