Propensity to be entrepreneurs is embedded in Indian gene: Gopalakrishnan

Entrepreneurship, which is more about innovation with a multiplier effect and transformative potential than just a start-up venture, will be the engine of India's growth in the next few decades, R. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Tata Sons Ltd, said on Friday.

Delivering the third K. Easwaran Endowment Memorial oration under the auspices of the Madras Management Association, Mr. Gopalakrishnan said India, which had a long history of entrepreneurial practices and unlike some of its Asian neighbours never ever been totally cut off from the world, could see a full blooming of the entrepreneurship in the country.

“The propensity to be entrepreneurs is embedded in the Indian gene,” he said.

Expounding on what he called the four “Cs” of entrepreneurship — chaos and challenge, creativity, communication and channelising of energies, Mr. Gopalakrishnan said entrepreneurship was more than opening a shop or setting up a factory; it was about innovation with knock-on effects that could drive social and political change.

According to him, innovation had to be something that was not only difficult to replicate but involved a huge social component.

“Innovation is about real problems, real people and real solutions than technology fixes,” he said.

He cited the case of a newly launched water purifying filter from the Tata stable that was inspired by a CSR initiative of Tata Consultancy Services in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.

The fundamental requisite of entrepreneurship is openness and real innovation stemmed from the trigger of imagination and intuition than an analytical mind. Like the music or arts, entrepreneurship can be “ineffective but efficient”, he said. “We should rely more on intuition which is essential for entrepreneurship.”

Disagreeing with recent Harvard Business School propositions that sought to debunk the importance of positive thinking, Mr. Gopalakrishnan said, “Optimism is not a denial of reality; but that which makes reality possible.”

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