Indy Learns from Infy
Mayor Gregory Ballard and Winnie Ballard planting a tree in the Infosys Hyderabad campus to commemorate their visit
The sport's most passionate fans, the entire city abuzz, and the sound of roaring engines - that's what people think of when the Indianapolis 500 comes to mind.
Not too far from the famous speedway, however, there's another race going on right now. This one lacks the sounds and drama of the Indy 500, but it's critically more important to the citizens of this Midwestern city. The race is to make Indianapolis one of the major Information Technology hubs of the 21st century.
In the pole position is the city's mayor, Gregory Ballard. He just returned to Indiana from India, a goodwill trip when I met with him at the Hyderabad campus. We talked about business partnerships and I believe Ballard got a glimpse of the transformational work we do for our Global Clients in the Hyderabad Campus of Infosys.
To the average person, Indianapolis is not the sort of city that comes to mind when you mention smart apps, computer science, and IT. Yet Mayor Ballard is determined to remake an area of the United States once known for its manufacturing economy into fertile ground for 21st century innovation. His quest became all the more successful by visiting Infosys.
"With Hyderabad being Indianapolis' sister city, it makes economic sense to partner with companies like Infosys to have discussions about Indianapolis and its place in the information technology industry," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Infosys is a great company doing innovative work. Indianapolis is a growing player in the information technology industry. Working relationships like the one we have with Infosys only perpetuate the growth for both parties."
Ballard wanted to see first-hand what he's been hearing about for years: the unique corporate culture of innovation at Infosys, where employees are less likely to ask why and more likely to ask why not. It's the kind of attitude that a Midwestern city could use in its efforts to transform itself into a competitive IT hotspot. Indeed, sustainability might mean being friendly to the environment for some corporate and government leaders. But for those in charge of cities that once hinged all of their hopes on the manufacturing sector, the word means survival.
Step one to sustain Indianapolis well into the future is to diversify its economy away from an old manufacturing base. Modern agriculture, IT, and biotechnology are now part of the mix. Indy can already boast being the fourth fastest growing American city in the field of Information Technology. Take that, Silicon Valley and Alley. Making partnerships with cities like Hyderabad and a company like Infosys only strengthens this kind of economic growth.
Indianapolis is near a number of large, well-known research universities. Its graduates are some of the finest young engineers in the world. That's why Ballard, we think, has come up with a promising game plan. He's got a wealth of intellectual capital near the Indiana capitol. That's what will form the basis of any metro area's renaissance: the ideas and people working there. Indianapolis won't be as reliant on factories and assembly lines as it will the inventiveness and creativity of its workforce. Ballard traveled halfway around the world to meet with Infosys because he knows that he's not competing with Silicon Valley for jobs. He's competing with a global market. And he wanted to see how Infosys makes things happen.
Indianapolis, which prides itself on the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, will soon be just as proud of its devotion to the high-speed dissemination of information. Because the fastest entities on the information superhighway can be from anywhere and everywhere. They get their speed and power from innovation.