Saturday, December 11, 2010

Local know-how, innovation (Jugaad) keys to realizing semicon/electronics growth in India

“We can’t just rely on making chips,” said Neeraj Paliwal, VP and NXP India country manager, while delivering his keynote: Semiconductor products for Indian market – leapfrog R&D workforce to product creation, at the recently held Mentor Graphics U2U conference. Local know-how and innovation hold the keys to realizing growth in the Indian context.

According to him, the semicon industry has evolved from initially being technology driven to customer driven, and lately, society driven. Paliwal listed four key macro growth drivers in electronics: energy efficiency, connected mobile devices, security and health.

Energy efficiency
* Efficient power conversion and low stand-by power.
* Energy-saving lighting and back-lighting.
* Energy conservation through demand side management.
* Electric/lighter vehicles, intelligent traffic management.

Connected mobile devices
* Proliferation of mobile data usage, wireless infra build-out.
* Smart mobile devices: always-on, multimedia, location-based.
* Connected car, many broadcast & connectivity standards.
* New user interfaces (e.g., touch, joystick).

* Secure mobile transactions and secure identity.
* Authentication, tagging and tracking.
* Car and home access, security and remote diagnostics.
* Radar and (body) scanning installations.

* Personal healthcare and portable emergency devices.
* Connected hearing aids and implantable devices.
* Car safety and comfort.
* Electronic diagnostics.

Jugaad — Indian flavor of innovation
In the Indian context, local know-how holds the key to realizing growth! Here, Paliwal introduced “Jugaad” an Indian word, which simply means an improvisational style of doing things or innovation, largely driven by or making use of scare resources available.

There is a need to develop an innovation mindset with the focus on revenue growth to reach new markets. Well, it should help when the innovations look at solving local problems first, and later, go on to address related or similar international problems.

Some examples of Indian innovations, include Tata’s water filter for rural poor for $20, which does not run on electricity; and Tata’s Nano car, which aims to reach the bottom of the pyramid. Also, John Deere’s weather recession with help from innovation. In fact, innovation could well be India’s next global export.

India has a National Innovation Council, with the aim to provide a broader plaform for innovation to redefine the understanding of innovation and move beyond the formal R&D paradigm. Another example of innovation — wireless kiosks for rural India.

Paliwal presented an example from NXP India, where its Bangalore team developed the NXP MPT612 IC for maximum power point tracking. It allows achieving up to 98 percent efficiency for solar PV/fuel cell systems.

To overcome challenges generally faced by MNCs in creating a product for India, NXP partnered with local independent design houses. It also invited and made use of knowledge from global experts. There were informal peer reviews, as well as innovation concept budget and protection via patents and NDAs.

Putting semicon to use on Jugaad!
So, what does it take to put semiconductor on Jugaad‖? According to Paliwal, a combination of an innovation mindset, a product creation culture (PCC) and making use of partnerships and the ecosystem.

Everyone can learn from Jugaad! It can enable solutions/inventions that have an impact on the social and economic value. One can move beyond R&D and develop via new applications of old technologies, new processes and structures, organizational creativity, etc.

NXP is working on an initiative called ‘End-to-end Product Development’. Besides creating training modules, it will also publish the industry’s first book on the topic by July 2011.

A nine-step process can assist transform R&D skills into product creation. These are:
* Competence gap analysis (organization and individuals).
* Bridge competence gap through training and hiring – plan.
* Build application know how – design competition, etc.
* Product feature analysis and competitor benchmarking – concept phase.
* Promoting product development mindset – teams and forums.
* Synergize between hardware and software teams to create system solutions.
* Set goals to develop at least five to six end-to-end products by 2012.
* Upgrade existing lab facilities to support system and application development.
* Quality processes needed to be a true product oriented team.

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