India benefits from Research Process Outsourcing

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The excellent [email protected] site of Wharton Business School has just published an in-depth special edition on What’s Driving India’s Rise as an R&D Hub? (registration required). Motorola, Microsoft and many others are launching R&D programs in India. The real issue is that these are not isolated projects, but integrated elements of global research. The new term for this is Research Process Outsourcing. To do this effectively absolutely requires knowledge-based outsourcing, and harks back to the issues raised by the Harvard Business Review case study I discussed last month. There is no question that the increasing sophistication of the best of the Indian technology companies enables not just participation in global R&D efforts, but also the coordination of international efforts. However despite all the excitement about the potential of the Indian economy, the depth of its lag in education, infrastructure, and health will prove a massive drain on the ambitions of the leading edge of the nation.