Dr R A Mashelkar, National Research Professor and former Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) delivered a very inspiring distinguished lecture on “From Incremental to Disruptive Innovation” at the School of Life Sciences Auditorium, University of Hyderabad on 13th October 2016.

Innovation happens in various levels, from micro to macro and in mega systems. Innovation is the key in driving the society. Dr Mashelkar highlighted that innovation could be incremental and disruptive. Incremental innovation is the norm but disruptive innovation is an exception. He has elaborated by comparing both incremental and disruptive innovation with beautiful examples. While incremental innovation could be evolutionary, disruptive evolution could be revolutionary. Disruptive innovation has invariably arisen due to out of the box and lateral thinking, appetite for risk taking and even serendipity. Examples of disruptive innovation include paperless printing, tubeless tire, waterless washing, driverless vehicle, wireless charging etc.

Dr. Mashelkar also gave several examples of disruptive innovation by serendipity, some of which received Nobel Prize for example discovery of Penicillin. Disruptive innovation changes the way we live and work, leads to creative destruction of businesses and also dramatically changes the geopolitics. For success mere disruptive innovation may not be enough, there should be innovations in other fronts as well e.g. policy, technology, business. He cited that although discovery of Nano car was a disruptive innovation with ~70 patents but it could not reach the mark due to unsuccessful business innovation.

Dr. Mashelkar shared his experience of how the corporates are encouraging to do disruptive innovation. In his lecture he inspired the large scientific community, and students toward disruptive innovation. Truly his highly motivating lecture is instrumental and it is in the direction for building an Indian innovation ecosystem that foster the movement from incremental to disruptive innovation and helps create ‘next’ practices – not just ‘best’ practices.


Deeply connected with the innovation movement in India, Dr. Mashelkar is currently the Chairman of India’s National Innovation Foundation, Reliance Innovation Council, Thermax Innovation Council, KPIT Technologies Innovation Council, Persistent Innovation Council and Marico Innovation Foundation.

The President of India honoured Dr. Mashelkar with Padmashri (1991), with Padmabhushan (2000) and with Padmavibhushan (2014) in recognition of his contribution to nation building.

The former VC of UoH, Prof. Goverdhan Mehta presided over the lecture. Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Vipin Srivastava felicitated the distinguished speaker while Prof. P Reddana, Dean, School of Life Sciences gave the welcome. Dr. Santosh Padhi of Life Sciences introduced the guest and Dr. R Chandrasekar of Chemistry proposed the vote of thanks. Prof. M Durga Prasad, Dean School of Chemistry, faculty and students attended the lecture.

By Dr. Santosh Padhi, Life Sciences

Pictures courtesy Mr. Ravi Jillapalli & PRO’s Office