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Arcot Desai Narasimhalu

Biography Professor Arcot Desai Narasimhalu
Professor Arcot Desai Narasimhalu
Professor Arcot Desai Narasimhalu
Professor Desai Narasimhalu has over 38 years of innovation, innovation management and innovation commercialization experience. He has started up several research groups in IT software including in areas such as Information Retrieval, Information Security, Multimedia databases, Multimedia Information Retrieval, Multimedia Systems and Visual processing.

Desai is presently a Professor of Information Systems Practice at Singapore Management University’s (SMU) School of Information Systems (SIS).  He joined SMU’s (SIS) in 2003 and was responsible for building the school and the curriculum in his position as SIS’s founding Associate Dean responsible for Student Programmes and Industry Liaison.  He proposed and was an initial architect of SIS’ unique Master of Information Technology in Business degree.  He has designed and currently manages the Technopreneurship Track for the SIS undergraduates
( ). He has designed, managed and delivered undergraduate courses including IS 101: Seminar on Information Systems Management, IS 401: IT and Business Innovation, IS 408: IT Governance and Portfolio Management, IS 426: Technopreneurship, IS 427: Technopreneurship Study Mission, IS 601: IT Governance and Innovation Management.

Desai is concurrently the Director of SMU’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 
( ) which was officially launched in September 2009. He has raised close to 10 M Singapore dollars in grants for innovation and entrepreneurship related programmes. Desai has established two incubators, one called SMU Business Innovations Generator (BIG) and a second one called Athena Innobator. These two incubators have collectively seeded more than forty start ups.

Professor Desai is a Business Advisors to startup companies such as Tagit (, Borderless Healthcare Group ( and Hiperware (  He founded PDMA’s Singapore Affiliate and is a Director of Business Angels Network South East Asia. He is also a member of the ICT review board for Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology’s  Innovation Center. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the International Society for Professional Innovation Management.

Professor Desai has been a member of editorial boards of several International Academic Journals and was a founding Editor of Springer ACM journal on Multimedia Systems. He had managed the Singapore Digital Media Consortium that linked select Singapore companies with MIT’s Media Labs on projects of mutual interest. Professor Desai has been invited by several companies such as Abbot Laboratories, Singapore Airlines, Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation, Singapore Telecom and TATA to share his thought leadership in Innovation methodologies. He was recently invited to be the lead key note speaker in Abu Dhabi University’s Inaugural Innovation Forum.
Prior to joining SMU Professor Desai had worked in commercially focused research labs. His immediate past position was as a Senior Director at the then Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL) Singapore, where he had responsibilities for New Initiatives, Ideation Management, IP Management, Business Development, Legal, License Management and Corporate Communication. He was in the thick of the creation and spin-out of about twenty IT software based startups from KRDL which collectively raised more than 100 million Singapore dollars. His group at KRDL spun off companies such as SecureAge ( and Molecular Connections ( 
His projects with the local industries resulted in startups such as Digisafe ( and Infowave ( Desai’s group had also managed projects with large multinationals such as Apple, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, National Semiconductors and Siemens. Some of his group’s Information Security innovations have been transferred to companies such as Computer Associates, Hewlett Packard and Internet Appliances.

Desai was a visiting scientist at IBM Japan Science Institute in 1984 and was with Indian Telephone Industries in Bangalore from 1974 to 1980. He obtained his Ph.D. from University of Hawaii Manoa campus’ School of Electrical Engineering in 1983.

Professor Desai has been capturing his experiences as methodologies and frameworks for innovation and entrepreneurship. Some of his recent publications related to innovation are listed below.

  • Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship publications
    • Innovative Entrepreneur’s Workbook, 2011
    • Readings in Innovation, 2010
    • Innovation Rules, 2009

  •  Select set of Refereed papers
    • Innovation Cube: Triggers, Drivers and Enablers of Successful Innovations, ISPIM 2005  
    • Innovation Engine, ISPIM 2007
    • Innovation Stack, PICMET 2007
    • A Method for Monetizing Technology Innovations, ECEI 2009
    • A Quality Metric for Sustainable Innovations, ISPIM 2011.

Contact details

Professor Arcot Desai Narasimhalu  
E-mail: Skype: desai.smu

MODULE – Active Innovation Management

Helping Small and Medium Enterprises grow into Multinationals


The program aims to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) hungry for growth with the knowledge and practice of innovation methodologies and innovation management in order to increase their revenue and profit.

Short description

Growth focused Small and Medium Enterprises can chart their path to becoming a regional or global multinational company by embracing active innovation management processes. The AIM programme is designed to help a key mid or senior level employee responsible for planning its growth strategy to both acquire the innovation competencies and be able to institutionalize and internalize innovation management within the company. The CEOs of selected SMEs would have been briefed about the program before the start of the program.

AIM programme is a unique combination of training and internship. Students from selected local universities will be co-trained with the executives of SMEs towards becoming Innovation Catalysts. The training is to be followed by three to four months of internship for the Innovation Catalyst with the SME. The combination of training and internship ensures that the busy executives of SMEs can continue with the day to day business of their companies while supervising the Innovation Catalysts to help them implement an Innovation Management process within the company.

The programme will be organized in two phases.

The first phase will involve five full days of training where the SME representative will be paired with an assigned Innovation Catalyst, who will be a student from a local university. The training will be in two segments – a three day training program on Innovation Opportunity Identification Methodologies followed by a two day training programme on Innovation Management.

In the second phase an Innovation Catalyst will help the top management of the SME design and implement an innovation management process and will also identify one or two immediate and imminent innovation opportunity in consultations with the strategy / planning team of the SME. The Innovation Catalyst can also train an employee of the SME to become the Innovation Champion for the company.

AIM Programme structure

Phase 1:

Part 1: Innovation Opportunity Identification methods

Day 1: Introduction to Innovation, QaDIM methodology and exercises

Day 2: Introduction to Innovation Cube, Innovation Grid methodologies and exercises.

Day 3: Introduction to Service innovations, Blue Ocean Methodology and exercises

Part 2: Institutionalizing Innovation Management

Day 4: Encouraging the fuzzy front end, Incentives and exercises

Day 5: Securing Intellectual property, Technology acquisition and exercises

Phase 2:

Three to four months of internship by the Innovation Catalyst to achieve the following.

  1. Design and Implement an innovation management process

  2. Train an employee of the SME as the innovation champion for continuity purposes

  3. Identify some low hanging innovation opportunities for the SME.
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