THE REAL PLAYERS  

Some optimists think we are  moving forward. Not-so-optimists show us a different picture. They say we are in the same situation where we were years ago. They say the nation is rapidly modernising but its age-old inefficiencies persist.  They think that our laboratories are rife with mediocrity, our universities are decaying and our scientists are losing ground to activists. They think India is the biggest supplier of techno-coolies. What should India do to become the real player?
India needs innovative leaders and socially responsible organisations. Innovative organisations respect their employees. According to a survey, top employers search for exceptional scientists who can bring fresh, original ideas to the company. It includes passion to fulfill the objectives of the company. A top scientist wants to be a part of the company that has the potential to make changes in the world. It is not enough for an innovative company to hire people who are only exceptional scientists. The person should also fit into the company’s core values. The innovative company recognises the joys of uncertainty. Maintaining the status quo doesn’t satisfy an innovative company. In order to attract the right people, for example, a company advises the job seekers not to apply if science is not their obsession, if one is content being the smartest person in the room, and if one is afraid to fail. In other words, if you are routine, you are not fit to work in an innovative company.
One certainly would want to be promoted, but may also like to stick to the bench. Some companies provide such an opportunity. Such companies recognise the value of the individual in the company. They provide opportunities so that one can stay at the bench without forfeiting any of the managerial incentives. A good scientist needs an environment that recognises accomplishment and celebrates the entire team. An innovative company encourages individual development plans, such as study leave and attending symposia at company’s cost. The introduction of ‘social hours’, so that fellow scientists can share perspectives, can greatly help a company. Innovative leadership is a matter that needs to be carefully nurtured and cultivated. We know that bureaucracy is the greatest enemy of innovation.  Companies need to place as much emphasis on society’s interest as they do on business interests. Some innovative companies are adequately serving this purpose by introducing community outreach programmes. These initiatives help companies to generate the right atmosphere, and at the same time, it gives the employees the satisfaction of giving something back to the society. We need to nurture future scientists. We need to build the critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the science and technology system and R&D base of the country.

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