iSPIRT: An initiative to build product based India


Ever since the Great Industrial Revolution took place in England, more than 350 years back, innovations have turned reality and become profitable ventures. The second Industrial Revolution created the most fundamental technologies that translate into products that we enjoy today, from the cars we drive, to the clothes we wear, to the lights that we switch on, and the houses we build and live in.

With its large population and market-friendly policies, India has been a beneficiary of products created outside its borders. What India offers to the world is however the spirit of service and labor intensive activities. To the Western markets, India is a picture of hard working citizens toiling away in a rural setting or more recently behind rows of neatly arranged desktops. The Indian software services industry, as an example, contributes about 14% to exports and employs nearly 3 million people. In a span of a decade, this industry has grown significantly and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

But just like the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum in a context of availability of raw material, labor resources and economic stimulus, over the last few years there has been a slow but steady convergence of several factors, which is leading to a silent revolution in India in the software products space. Principally, these factors include the ubiquitous availability of mobile phones, ease of adoption of SaaS, and the increased collaboration fostered by social networks.

India has the potential to spawn companies that serve millions of customers with a path breaking affordable product. With many new Indian technology businesses being created every month, the next 20 years could belong to these Indian product companies.

The Emergence of the Think Tank

To transform India into a hub for new generation software products, it is crucial to address government policy, create market catalysts and grow the maturity of product entrepreneurs. An integrative approach is fundamental and vital.

Since the stakes are high and industry is moving very fast, a reactive ivory tower approach cannot succeed. In addition to top-down policy recommendations, the hive mind of the industry must be leveraged to support conversations for grassroots involvement and actions. David Weinberger said it most aptly: the smartest person in the room is now the room.

With this context in mind, about 30 product companies and individuals joined hands together to form iSPIRT – the Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable in early 2013.

SPIRT is organized as a collection of causes. All our efforts across these causes are guided by five beliefs:

  • Entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs

    Just like a chain of mountain climbers, our product entrepreneur community is at different stages of evolution. There is an entire generation which has already established itself in terms of product, processes, people and market. We encourage that community to “pay forward” and nurture the next generation. Learning from those who have been “through the grind” ensures that insights are better and mistakes are fewer. This also means the potential of catapulting the next generation to the path of growth and prosperity much quicker due to better tacit industry knowledge.

  • Enablers, not cheer-leadersWe are not in the stadium but in the field. We have a keen sense of the institutional voids and ecosystem gaps that are holding back the growth of the Software Product Industry in India. We adopt a “roll up your sleeves” attitude to fix these voids and gaps. All the enablers that we create are “public goods” and are available to all software product companies on an open-access basis.
  • Technology as a leverage point for changing systemsWe believe that there are places within a complex system (an economy, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. We use Donella Meadows’ framework to think about leverage points where interventions can make a difference. We see software products as the “magic bullets” that can alter an entire system and bring about positive social change.
  • Think Tank, not lobby groupWe believe that a think tank like Brookings Institute is a more credible source of gun safety policy than NRA. Similarly, we believe that our policy recommendations are more credible than a traditional trade body.
  • We are at an inflection point as a country and it’s time to actWe believe that the time to act is now. Any delay in nurturing or fostering the industry could impair growth and curb the opportunity that this industry presents to the country. The positive impact is on employment, capital, investment, infrastructure and ultimately, revenue and growth for the country as a whole.
Be Sociable, Share!

Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Social PopUP by Timersys