Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Inflexion Point, August 2020

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

Welcome back to Inflexion Point.

In this edition, I talk about innovation practices of some of the leading Indian companies. 
I hope you find this useful. 
Take care and be safe. 

Titan is one of India’s leading design and retail companies, with brands like Tanishq, Fastrack, and Taneira. Over the years, the company has diversified into various markets, starting with watches and jewellery, to eyeware, perfumes, accessories, and sarees and has managed to retain its edge amid stiff competition from unorganized players. The company has various vehicles of innovation, namely: Innovation School of Management (for training on problem solving), Innovation Bazaar (exhibitions of innovations), InterWeave (collaboration), Ignitor (ideation portal), Innovation Newsletters, and Daily Mails on Innovation, to sensitize employees on innovation and build problem solving capabilities. The company has innovation champions and a robust governance mechanism to take promising ideas further in a systematic manner. (Source: Management Exchange, ASQ) 
ANAND Group is one of India’s largest auto-component manufacturers and a company that has grown on the strength of its partnerships with large global auto-component makers. One of the unique practices at the company is the Operating Engineers (OE) model. This programme was started on an experimental basis in 1994, and today has become an industry benchmark. Instead of hiring the unionized workforce, which is a practice in the manufacturing sector, the model looks at employing diploma graduates and training them over a period of four years for them to take up greater roles and responsibilities at the organization. This young and dynamic workforce, in the age group of 22-24 years, forms the backbone of a typical ANAND Group factory. (Source: ANAND Group, Manufacturing Today)
Though the company might not be doing very well financially, but Future Group has been a pioneer on several management practices in India. Kishore Biyani, the company’s founder, has been a big proponent of design thinking and customer centricity. The company has setup the Future Ideas, which looks at the insight generation and their application to important retail concepts. Biyani brought in the ethos of Indian mythology and beliefs to business through his protege Devdutt Pattanaik and has exhibited a deep understanding of the Indian consumers, evident by the various retail formats that he had pioneered over the years. (Source: Future Group) 
Under the leadership of Anand Mahindra, Mahindra has become a strong conglomerate known for its audacious moves and innovation spirit in multiple sectors. Under the corporate branding of ‘Rise’, the company has institutionalized various programmes on innovation, ranging from Innovation Awards for outstanding contributions by employees, to Makers Lab for promoting a prototyping spirit, R&D on electric cars, and Shadow Boards for listening to and soliciting ideas from the youth across the organization. Anand Mahindra is a keen proponent of innovation and improvisation and prides in being in a constant touch with his customers and technology trend. (Source: Mahindra) 
Open innovation is turning out to be one of the best ways to tap into the growing pool of talent and ideas, and it’s heartening to see one of India’s leading PSUs, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) opening its doors to alternate models of innovation. The second edition of the ‘Dare to Dream’ innovation contest is on and submissions are invited till October 10, 2020. With prize money in upwards of Rs. 36 lakhs, the initiative is aimed at identifying disruptive ideas and concepts to enhance India’s self reliance on the defence front. The previous edition saw scores of individual tinkerers and experimenters bagging top prizes. (Source: DRDO)
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