A statement that stuck with me on my way home from this week's Outsourcing Institute RoadShow in Chicago was made by David Kinnear, founder of the Global Sourcing Council and a global sourcing adviser and management strategist at Lisnagol Ventures. During a panel discussion on "Alternatives to India," Kinnear noted that countries outside the U.S. are increasingly involved in activities involving innovation rather than just production capabilities. "I think it's entirely possible that the next 'big bang' technology development will come from somewhere other than the U.S. or the UK," he said.
It's safe to say that Kinnear isn't the only one who thinks so. I wonder if this idea isn't one of the drivers behind the trend of Indian technology graduates who are choosing to pursue business opportunities in their home country rather than relocating elsewhere.
According to ZDNet, 65 percent of graduates from the Indian Institutes of Technology remained in India between 1964 and 2001 -- meaning that 35 percent went to the U.S. or another country to seek employment. The number of graduates remaining in India grew to 84 percent between 2002 and 2008.
Sixty percent of the IIT graduates felt that countries other than India offered the best employment opportunities during the 1964 to 2001 period, but that number has fallen to 51 percent today. Not only that, but 72 percent of IIT graduates believe that India will offer the best job prospects within 10 years.
The domestic market for professional services is heating up, as I blogged back in August, with BPO showing particularly strong growth prospects. And a growing number of Indians arefounding their own technology start-ups, leading the International Herald Tribune to call Bangalore "an incipient Silicon Valley of the East."
The booming business climate isn't the only reason for Indians to stay home. In February, I wrote about an Indian expat living in California who is worried about culture shock as he returns home after 16 years away. The expat told San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy, "I don't know if I will be able to fit in there."