Here is my opinion on what we need to do to build a truly world-class Knowledge-driven Innovation Cluster in Pune:
1) Focus on a few areas where we can synergise Knowledge creation activity, Innovation activity and Industry activity. I would bet on the following:
- Health: Biopharma | Medical devices and diagnostics
- Agro: Farm Inputs & Productivity | Post harvest value addition
- Energy: Clean energy | Renewable energy | Engineering for Energy Optimisation
- Computation, modeling, data analytics: Niche services and tools | Analytics, optimisation and control
- Social and rural innovation: Rural agro | animal | affordable health | assistive tech
(There will be other areas of innovation including B2B SAAS etc where Pune might do well, but I am not sure we will draw upon the city’s knowledge strengths there. Pune wishes to be in IOT/AI/ML etc but again I am not sure we have the new knowledge strength there.)
2) Pune city needs to invest in the following:
- An institute of engineering and technology to rival IIT-Bombay
- An institute of business management to rival IIM-Ahmedabad
- A teaching and research hospital to rival Tata Memorial or AIIMS-Delhi
- Attract R&D centres of global majors to rival GE-JFWTC that attract high quality talent
- Attract and nurture technical consulting firms (similar to erstwhile Cambridge Consultants in UK or Arthur D Little in US) that attract high quality talent
- Attract investors and funders (in complementing domains) set up base in Pune
- Ensure that the City can attract, provide adequate options for and retain multiple career families where multiple members of the family (especially spouses) are highly trained.
- Make sure basic infrastructure, services, supplies and environment of the city are of a high quality (“a big ask?”) even as the City grows
- A dedicated effort to strengthen Brand Pune and present its identity and potential to the world.
3) The following are key stone elements of the innovation ecosystem and need to be strengthened/nurtured by the City and community:
- Networking platforms for leaders like Pune International Center or MCCIA or PuneTech.com
- Innovation ecosystem builders and incubators like Venture Center
- An intellectually stimulating and vibrant environment — this has always been Pune’s great strength!!!
- Recognising and welcoming talent from all parts of the world — this also has been a strength of Pune.