Bangalore has many well established captive R&D centers. Over time, some pockets in these R&D centers have assumed responsibility for components or sub-products. Now there is angst among the senior leaders in these captives to incubate whole products from India. In effect they would like to become intrapreneurs.
Intrapreneurship is particularly challenging when it has to be done from a remote development center. There are a number of barriers to success. While some of these barriers are similar to what one encounters in entrepreneurship, there are also subtle and significant differences. Funding, lining up sponsors or go-to-market are some of the obvious areas of divergence. The context is also different - intrapreneurship is more about sustaining innovation while entrepreneurship is often more about disruptive innovation.
Having successful intrapreneurship out of India is important for entrepreneurship as well. Experience of Taiwan in early 80s and Israel in early 90s has shown that intrapreneurship primes the pump for entrepreneurship. Most of the early entrepreneurs there came out of captive R&D centers. This dynamic is starting to play out in India as well. There are a number of examples: Ugenie (ex-Amazon India), Monsoon Multimedia (ex-Adobe India), Evergrid (ex-Veritas India), Panta Systems (ex Veritas India again), etc. I see these startups as a good thing. They make the whole ecosystem stronger.
All this has led to a debate among some of us on how best to promote intrapreneurship in Bangalore (later in Pune and Hyderabad). Should we form a Special Interest Group (SIG) – essentially a new community – to do this? Or is this best left for each company to figure out themselves?
There are arguments for both sides. I am firmly in the camp of setting up a SIG. Bangalore has a number of thriving technical communities and so this new one should be able to take root easily.
What do you think should be done? Are you in favor of setting up an Intrapreneurship SIG in Bangalore? If so, what should be its focus? I look forward to hearing back from you.