I had an opportunity to articulate my views on this subject at APIN conference on 6th August. What returns are expected for a government program like TePP? Government is an investor like angel investor, VC firm, Bank. Unlike those financial instruments, TePP gives money as grant, i.e free money. Also the beneficiary retains all rights on IP and technology commercialisation.
Is picking winners the aim of the program? Obviously not. There are other programs targeting Indian innovations for showcasing in global market.
TePP aims to cover risks so that more and more innovators actually take the risk.Then the question is -can mindset of millions be changed by providing grants to hundreds. This addresses the thin line dividing `private good' and `public good'. If innovators benefit from liberal government grant and keep all benefit to themselves, the grant works like a subsidy to few. On the other hand, if supported innovators, inspire and motivate many others, then there will be `public good' in the form of reduced risk aversion. How can that be done? Tipping point, viral impact are come of the concepts that show the way.
Hundreds of supported innovators can influence the minds of millions if they are capable, committed and communicative.
From my experience, I have found the last is the most important factor. The beneficiaries need to talk about their innovation, the TePP program and supportive eco-system of the nation to one and all, at all times. They need to be ambassadors of good will for government.
We cannot build a national eco-system in an environment characterised by negative thought and cynical views of government. Let us learn the art of paying back to society.