The study of innovation has taken on a richer international flavour at U of T, with the launch last fall of the India Innovation Institute – a joint venture of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Rotman School of Management.
Janice Stein, director of the Munk School, says the new institute – which will be housed at Munk – is designed to be a hub for researchers across the university who are studying how India innovates. If the country’s recent success continues, it is expected to become one of the world’s largest economies by 2050.
The study of innovation, which attracts researchers in many disciplines, has tended to focus on the experiences of the developed world. The India Innovation Institute will help scholars learn from the innovative practices of organizations in developing countries, where resources are often in shorter supply or products must be priced lower to reach a mass audience. (Some companies engage in so-called “frugal innovation” – designing products specifically for low-income customers. Read our article on the UbiSlate, p. 49.) In addition to helping U of T researchers engage with colleagues in India and around the world, the India Innovation Institute will foster new multidisciplinary collaborations.
Stein says some research projects, including a study on biotech innovation in India and China, are already embedded in the institute.
She adds that additional international collaborations will be formed, not just with colleagues in India but also three-way partnerships where India is engaged with researchers in China and Canada. “This is an opportunity to learn from India, to work together with Indian colleagues and to think about innovation under conditions of constraint,” says Stein.
Prof. Dilip Soman, the Corus Chair in Communications Strategy and a professor of marketing at Rotman, will be the institute’s inaugural director. – Anjum Nayyar