India’s Innovation hotspot | Bengaluru

Last month, we took part in the global launch of this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII) that was held in New Delhi. India has improved its innovation ranking from 29 spots in last five years from 81st position in 2014 to 52nd position in 2019. India also stands out in the GII ranking of the world’s top science and technology clusters, with Bengaluru, Mumbai, and New Delhi featuring prominently among the global top 100 clusters.

Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore) has long been the choice of insiders as a prime location to start a business, boasting high level tech professionals, a tradition of experimentation and innovation, and competitive prices base that are attracting an increasing number of Swedish companies. Bengaluru has a strong cluster of IT and biopharmaceutical companies. It also has the second fastest growing start-up ecosystem in the world and is home to billion-dollar Indian start-ups. It is expected to become the largest IT cluster globally by 2020, employing around 2 million professionals. For many of the multinational companies, be it GE, Cisco, Intel, Yahoo, 3M and others, their research and development centers in Bangalore are among the largest in their network.

Many now believe that it is cities that matter more than countries. Cities are where innovation happens, where most ideas form and from where economic growth largely stems. Bangalore is likely to remain India’s Silicon Valley for a long time to come. Led by the tech-boom, there is a huge influx of people from other parts of the country, as well as from abroad.

We at the OSI India team visited Bengaluru in July this year to meet with relevant stakeholders in the science and innovation space.

Swedish companies such as Volvo, ABB and Ericsson amongst others have huge presence in Bengaluru. Ericsson is setting up of a Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA) in Bengaluru. This innovation hub by Ericsson will focus chiefly on research and development in artificial intelligence and automation. Volvo Group is setting up an innovation garage in Bengaluru. ABB Ability Innovation Center in Bengaluru focuses on power engineering, grid automation and digitalization.

We also had the opportunity to meet with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to discuss next steps for Indo-Swedish cooperation in Space. We also met with the International team at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) who have a joint PHD program with Swedish KTH. We also visited C-CAMP – an Indian incubator with strong ties with Sweden to explore how to deepen the collaboration between Swedish and Indian incubators.

Innovation is a win-win game for boosting the Sweden-India relationship and given Bengaluru’s position as an innovation hotspot for innovation, there will be more such visits to India’s own Silicon Valley!

Maria, Leena and Mini