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December 12, 2012

Unleashing Disruptive IT-led Services Innovation

Posted by Dr. Srinivas Padmanabhuni (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:28 AM

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Service Research and Innovation Institute (SRII) India - International Conference on Services in Emerging Markets (ICSEM) 2012 Conference 

Yes, you read that right. I am talking about disruption powered by IT in the services sector. Common perception associates innovation with products. The classic example is Thomas Edison's bulb, emblematic of innovation itself today. Then, there are the Apple products - owned, coveted, admired, even criticized, but hard to ignore. But, ever thought about the services behind these products? The services that got electricity to your home to light that bulb? The iTunes service which, as we all know, revolutionized the digital music industry?

Now, getting a step ahead of the obvious examples of services innovation, consider these:

• Adding speech-recognition capabilities to everyday life; for example, "smart" homes designed to recognize voice commands
• Vending train tickets via mobile apps
• Smart farming - With sensors at the ground level sending instantaneous data about humidity, temperature, sunlight and soil characteristics such
   as pH, moisture content and fertilizer content to ascertain that ideal growth conditions are established
• Leveraging Cloud and collaboration technologies for bottom-of-the-pyramid education

You get the idea? It's not difficult to see why there's a need for a concerted approach to nurture innovations in the services sector. Service Research and Innovation Institute (SRII) is a global think tank that aims to do exactly that, by leveraging Information Technology. Among its several initiatives is an annual conference that is organized to understand and address the special characteristics of services innovation in emerging markets. 
This year, the conference is hosted at Infosys, Mysore, India from December 12th to 15th. 

The conference will address the need and scope of services innovation specifically in the context of areas most relevant to emerging markets - such as governance, healthcare, agriculture and education. The role of IT in these domains will be discussed at length through panel discussions and tutorials delivered by world-class academicians, government representatives, industry representatives and think tanks. Trends in social computing, mobile computing, analytics and Cloud (SMAC) will also be laid bare. In addition, the conference will discuss the 'process' dimensions of innovation including service design thinking, best-practice innovation processes and such others. Though focused on the emerging economies, the symposium leverages its strong global innovation networks. 

A true and unfailing source of innovation for any economy is its startup ecosystem and its student community. SRII has gone that extra mile to engage with startups, and has invited them to showcase their ware. Likewise, some time ago, the SRII organizers launched a nationwide innovation challenge for students, calling for disruptive services innovation ideas. More than 10 startups and over 40 students' teams responded enthusiastically.

Thrilled as I am at the prospect of being amidst all this action, I promise to return with exciting updates, following the event.

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