India Innovation Institute a hub for innovation research
Joint venture of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Rotman School of Management
The study of innovation took a global step forward Oct. 5 with the launch of the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto – a joint venture of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Rotman School of Management.
Professor Janice Stein, director of the Munk School which will house the institute, says the India Innovation Institute is designed to be a hub for researchers across the university and around the world bringing together faculty and students who are looking at problems of innovation in which India is engaged.
During a news conference at the Institute’s launch, U of T President David Naylor noted that Asia is continuing to emerge as a great economic, innovative and entrepreneurial power.
“It’s important for us to capitalize on that advantage, build those connections so that we may prosper together,” he said. “It will advance our understanding of the traffic between India and Canada in every domain, be it business, academia, the government or civil society or generally. It will be a hub for scholars and students to reflect upon and accelerate through partnerships and innovation in our countries and to mutual advantage.”
Today, India is a leading global innovator. And by 2050 it is expected to be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with average household income matching that of the United States and U.K. Its projected population of 2 billion will make it the largest country in the world.
“This is an opportunity to learn from India, to work together with Indian colleagues and to think about innovation under conditions of constraint,” said Stein. “That’s the challenge for Canada in the next five years. U of T is very well positioned for this venture. We have global reach, we have partners in India, this is a joint venture between the Munk School and the Rotman School and I think we’ll have some visionary projects in the future.”
The study of innovation, which attracts researchers in many disciplines, has tended to focus on the experiences of the developed world. The India Innovation Institute will help scholars learn from the innovative practices of organizations in developing countries. In addition to helping U of T researchers engage with colleagues in India and around the world, the India Innovation Institute will foster new, multidisciplinary collaborations.
Professor Dilip Soman, Corus Chair in Communications Strategy and a professor of marketing at Rotman, will be the institute’s inaugural director.
“I’d like to see this as a three-pronged approach,” said Soman. “There’s obviously the scholarship that’s going to come out in terms of the academic research. But I’d like this to be a critical development exercise. I think there’s a lot we can do in terms of developing innovative curricula based on what we learn from the India story. I see fits for the Munk Centre and the Rotman School and the whole university.”
Stein said some research projects, including a study on biotech innovation in India and China, are already embedded in the institute.
“And there will certainly be international collaborations that will come out of this, not just with colleagues in India but also three-way partnerships where India is engaged in a trilateral way with researchers in China and Canada,” Stein said. “It’s very exciting and a wonderful way for the University of Toronto to engage with our colleagues in India in the most dynamic and stimulating piece of what India is doing in the world and what Canada should be doing more of in the world.”
View photos from the launch.