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Technological Innovations in a National Laboratory in India: A Case Study

  • Political Science


This paper gives a historical account of a major technological innovation in India. The technology was developed in a national laboratory and successfully transferred and commercialised by public sector corporation and promoted by one of the state governments. This paper focuses mainly on the managerial processes involved in the innovation. The innovation process was found to be an extremely complex one with a large number of organizations involved in it at different points in time. The laboratory faced a number of problems as a result of a high degree of uncertainty in the government’s policy towards it, a hostile external environment and a lack of credibility with its external constituencies. The total innovation process could be categorised into three stages on the basis of the dominant managerial orientation; (i) entrepreneurial, (ii) reactive-muddling through and (iii) Planned-learning. The planned-learning mode seemed to be superior to the other two. A number of factors associated with the managerial actions seem to have aided in the success of the innovation. These were : (i) the presence of a product champion during the most of the technology development stage, (ii) continued support of the project by the Director-in-charge of the laboratory after the departure of the product by the Director-in-charge of the laboratory after the departure of the product champion, (iii) strong commitment of the technology development team based on pride in indigenous technology, (iv) effective relationship developed by the product champion with the key decision makers in government, (v) close association with the team of committed consultants for a considerably long period of time.

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