Innovate for a safer, cleaner, smarter India

Sashi Mukundan addressed captains of the Indian and UK business fraternity, as a panellist on “Innovation in the Indian economy”, at the Leadership Conclave organized by the UKIBC at New Delhi

Date: 11 September 2015
Innovation is central to transformation. As we address big societal challenges, like sustainable cities, health & cleanliness, food, energy and water, we can deliver tangible benefits for our countries and the world when we seek to combine innovation and the dynamism of enterprise to solve the problems of citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid.  

Innovative ventures that are scalable, sustainable and therefore profitable will address social needs of our less privileged citizens in areas such as healthcare, food, nutrition, agriculture, education / skill development, energy, financial inclusion, water, sanitation, employment generation. 

The way forward for Innovation is through application

Applying Innovation in three critical areas will turn around the Indian economy. These are:
  • Innovation for capacity and capability building in People
  • Innovation in Policy for a shared global vision-clean energy being one such area
  • Innovation in Projects through collaborations and joint programmes to meet societal challenges, like UK and India have been doing for many decades
Let me share a few areas where we could use innovation.
"My passion lies in this area - Innovation in Energy. I feel it is critical to spearhead the Indian growth story, and myriad areas of opportunity abound here." 
  • Innovating in energy efficiency across all sectors
  • Innovations to reduce carbon intensity as this alone will accelerate deployment of renewables in power, both on and off-grid; and
  • Innovative projects for the decarbonisation of Indian electricity system - with coal to gas switching for grid based power - especially for all non-subsidized use
  • Innovation in Projects through collaborations and joint programmes to meet societal challenges, like UK and India have been doing for many decades
  • Innovation in energy mix, policy driving gas switching from liquid fuels especially in transport and industry

Innovation by BP in India

A few examples of collaborative innovation I can cite following BP’s $8 billion investment in India include:

Bringing advanced deepwater technological expertise from our global hubs to India and supporting growth of local talent & skills in IT&S and Shipping. Encouraging energy policy innovation to produce more domestic energy and increasing gas as part of the energy mix to fuel a cleaner growth is another example. I list two instances of what success means. The first is how adoption of CNG in the transport sector in New Delhi mitigated pollution in the city, and the more recent policy innovation in the terms of reference for marginal oil and gas fields to attract investments. Incubating clean technology start-ups in collaboration with MNRE and IIM Ahmedabad and co-engineering high performance lubricants with the automotive industry are two more projects where we in BP have seen the footprint of innovation through application. 
In all these areas the current low oil price environment creates new opportunities and challenges for energy innovation. Focus I feel would be on applying ready-to-go successful innovative practices from around the globe to enable growth in India that is safer, smarter and faster.