On Sept 24th, all of India was agog with excitement as Mangalyaan, India’s MARS orbiter inserted itself successfully into orbit. Hailed by the scientific community across the world as a great engineering feat, the mission stands out for two reasons – getting it right the first time and getting it done on a frugal budget.
No other country has managed to succeed the first time in its mission to Mars, and none has managed it within such a budget. ISRO, India’s space agency, deserves kudos for this accomplishment. While all the TV channels, twiterrati and news portals were going berserk, I was quietly contemplating on the significance of this feat and what, I, as an individual, a professional and an entrepreneur, can learn from it.
Here are the entrepreneurial values that the Mangalyaan success story reinforced:
The big dream: India dared to dream- when the former PM announced this mission two years back, I am sure many would have laughed at the audacity. But, ISRO backed its own abilities and delivered with flying colors.
Self-belief: There were over 60 Mars missions before Mangalyaan and only a small fraction have been successful, also, no country has got it right the first time. ISRO scientists did not look at history and instead chose to focus on the task at hand. And the outcome surprised everyone.
Frugality: This is the biggest lesson perhaps, especially for entrepreneurs. At a time when big money, big funding, and big headlines talk, ISRO went about its job with minimal fuss and wrapped up the project with an unheard of $67 M budget. Clearly, it’s not all about having the funding; it’s really about knowing what to do. Mangalyaan in fact is a reminder to entrepreneurs that bootstrapping still works!
Ingenuity: More than money, it is ideas, thinking and execution that matter- by developing indigenous core capabilities, ISRO managed to pull off a scientific miracle, so to speak. Also, Mangalyaan is not quite an example of Indian jugaad; on the contrary it is a well-planned project where there were really no short cuts. In that sense, it projects India in a different light- being ingenious while playing by the rules.
Result orientation:- that’s the bottom line- one can dream, envision and plan, but it is only when you actually get the results that you will be taken seriously.
Last, while India has been finding its place in the global map through its knowledge industry, there is still the tag of India being successful by flaunting its low cost advantage.
While Mangalyaan is indeed a low cost program, the knowhow behind this project has shown beyond doubt that India has what it takes when it comes to advanced high tech initiatives. That is a big inspiration for entrepreneurs like me- to compete on high quality and to be counted among the best in business across the globe.