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Why do we lack innovation? An inside perspective

By : Mubasir Raji

“ entrepreneurship is a human, creative act that builds something of value from practically nothing. It is the pursuit of opportunity regardless of resources, or lack of resources at hand. It requires a vision and the passion and commitment to lead others in the pursuit of that vision. It also requires a willingness to take calculated risk.”  Jeffery A. Timmons (quoted from the book entitled “Entrepreneurship” written by Peggy Lambing and Charles R. Kuel

The culture we have is such that, we don’t encourage innovative mindsets. Whenever an innovative mind crop-up we look with suspicion. It takes very long time for a new idea to find any taker. We have carry an air of inferiority complex so much so that we laugh at people with new ideas so the next logical step of getting support for new ideas takes very long time.Those are the disadvantages of starting on the road to entrepreneurship. There are lots of road blocks for an entrepreneur. We don’t have American culture, the culture of confidence, creative and the feeling of abundance is as alien to us as a sighting of a “UFO”Now, one is probably inclined to ask; is there any advantage of entrepreneurship? What is the price tag of an innovator? The answer is ‘yes’ there are as much advantages as there are disadvantages.  The weak point of a thing can be its strongest point looking from another angle. As there are hardly any competition, once the business has started it becomes the competition itself. Once a new venture started showing dividend (profit), people flock in; it became a center of admiration for everyone. It’s so easy; public opinion changes quickly; once a business started on the road to success.In my native state Manipur, the story of CC ( Cymbopogan Citratus) tea is one such story which is quite innovative as well as ground breaking innovation. The so called CC tea was growing as a grass just a decade back. It was growing as a grass in the wild; nobody exactly knows its health value at that time. The unique tastes of CC tea make it an instant hit; once it comes out in the market. Now CC Tea has already become a style statement in Manipur. CC Tea is not just a drink; it is a life style product.When Steve jobs used to launch his apple product, everybody wanted to catch the product, everybody wanted to be included in that elide apple user club and once the product comes it effect a major life style change. That was a cult. Even the people who are involved in developing the product wanted to own one. These products are so far reaching that they produces an entirely new life style. (Steve Jobs is a very famous American who was known for his ground breaking entrepreneurial skills. Steve jobs is one of the co-founder of Apple computer who is known for his out-of-box thinking managerial style. He now acquire a legendary status in the field of technology)Now we carry music player in our own pocket in the form of our mobile phones, this was unthinkable some three or four decades back. Now we have so much taken it for granted that we have almost forgotten it.Now CC tea is not just a substitute for tea or coffee, it is a craze and even a status symbol. Visit any local fast food center and watch what all college kid demand, they always demand “Lemon Tea” which is the local name for CC tea. They say it is chic and so stylish and it taste exciting.CC tea is light to drink and it has unique taste. While other caffeine infused beverage produces dizziness and other health concern like constipation etc., CC tea has no such effects. It may but it is not reported till now. It is a great find and the story is gaining momentum and it is expected to spread far and wide.About the question that why we lack innovation; we have a close society, we have lesser cultural intermingling. We never venture out of our close society; we remain inside our close pockets. We have more of clannish pride and tendency to protect our regional identity that we fail to see things from other people perspective and thing out-of- box.And most importantly Indian society is such a heterogeneous one, which is there no uniformity. We are still deeply mired in superstition and ignorance.Yes! People may argue like, we have unity in diversity, we lack resources and it is not necessary for western culture to fit in our system all the time. But all those argument are there as an argument and they may be valid looking from some other perspective as well. In the hindsight simply providing argument without solution is no use. Some of those arguments are wishful thinking rather than a statement of actuality.Definitely in the last few years we are seeing a lots of changes, there seems to be a wave confidence starting to spread wide. In the metros and big cities the changes had begun a long-time back but it is taking too long a time to penetrate in smaller cities. The process of filtration is taking too long a time in our country, particularly in Manipur and NE part of India which is the main focus of article, the rate of development is very slow and the mode of communication is still very primitive here.The Imphal city is still not seeing railways in 21st century, what a joke! Either because of cultural impediments or other reasons, the primary mode of livelihood is still the primitive hunting and gathering type.As Steve Jobs used to belief a product can change the life of millions of people, but to develop a product or service of life changing order (standard) one needs confidence and innovation highest order. The product like CC tea is very encouraging; it is a child of innovation.Basically all the Coca Cola products are just the sugar water; but it is also a life style statement, Coca Cola Company gives hundreds of thousands of employments to people. It generate huge amount of revenue.‘

William Gurumayum

William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. He also looks after the website and application of Imphal Times. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.

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