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Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Partners with BMGI for the 2nd Annual CII’s Innovation Conclave

July 4, 2012 - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

India’s quest for high growth has seen some strong head-winds in recent times. Though the long-term growth story remains intact, the reality is that growth cannot be taken to be a given anymore. In this situation, Innovation has an important role to play to assist Indian organizations stay the course of high growth. It requires an ability to understand what are the “jobs-to-be-done” that are critical to customers and how these can be better met through new products / services / business models.

To showcase the power of Innovation in creating sustained business growth, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with Breakthrough Management Group (India) as Knowledge Partner organised the 2nd edition of the Innovation Summit on Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi. The theme for the summit this year was “Innovation: Creating the Path to Sustained Business Growth”.

Conclave Highlights

In setting the theme for the Conclave, Mr Naresh N Shahani, Founder & Managing Director, Breakthrough Management Group, started with the belief that India has the potential to become an Innovation Leader. To this end, Mr Shahani talked about six Innovation perspectives:

-- Customer Expectation Or Job to be Done

-- Jugaad Or Structure

-- Creativity Or Sciences

-- R&D Or Entire Company

-- Within Or External

-- Creative People Or ALL People

In the first perspective, Mr Shahani highlighted that it is important to understand what the customer wants through VOC studies, but it is equally critical to understand customer needs without necessarily asking them, which can be achieved through customer observation (Ethnography Studies) and determining the Job-to-be-Done. Mr Shahani talked about Chotakool, a refrigerator for the villagers launched by Godrej, as an example.

In the perspective of Jugaad vs Structure, Mr Shahani showcased the difference between Jugaad, which are everyday innovations that are driven by the ingenuity of the entrepreneurial mind and structure on the other, where a methodical process is followed for arriving at innovative solutions that meet customer requirements better. Mr Shahani cited SuKam as a classic example of an entrepreneurial mind while Tata’s Ginger Hotels was the result of a structured thought process.

Mr Shahani walked the group through all the six perspectives and in conclusion, highlighted that it is not a question of “or”, i.e. it is not about Customer Expectation Or Job to be Done. It is not about Jugaad Or Structure. The greater good, according to Mr Shahani, lies in the ‘And’. Thus it is about Customer Expectation And Job to be Done, Creativity AND Sciences, Creative People And All People. Organizations that are able to see the perspective of the “And” will find themselves in a much stronger position in finding solutions to customer jobs and thus give an impetus to their growth.

In his talk about using Innovation as a means to build brand equity, Mr Aashish Mehra, Global Partner & Managing Director, Strategic Decisions Group, pointed out two important issues in the organization related to innovation

a. It is important that a company takes innovation seriously
b. An organization needs to consider all the risks associated with innovation while calculating the return on investment

Mr Mehra focussed on the decision making method for evaluating innovation projects. Citing examples from his professional experience, Mr Mehra said that most organizations are unable to appreciate that innovation projects are very different from conventional projects. The primary difference is on account of Innovation by definition being uncertain and involving certain risk. Innovation projects hence should be evaluated taking into account the risk involved, which does not feature in conventional methods.

Due to this reason, Mr Mehra highlighted that several innovation projects never get funding and, hence, never get executed because they don’t make it to the top list of the projects for funding according to the conventional technique. This leads to value never being realized.

To overcome this issue, Mr Mehra stressed on the need for using mathematical and probabilistic methods in evaluating innovation projects, which are set apart from conventional methods such as the NPV and IRR.

Mr Sanjay Malik, Head of Bharti Global CBT, Nokia Siemens Networks, shared his insights on how to create a culture of innovation. As per Mr Malik, an idea is not an innovation until it is implemented and taken to the market. Further, Mr Malik indicated that innovations could be from the manufacturer’s side, customer’s side or resulting from market forces, almost 90% being initiated by market forces and customers. To be able to respond to market forces and customer needs better, Mr Malik stressed on the need for an Innovation culture and shared a seven-step approach followed by Nokia Siemens Networks to create one:

1. Innovation requires passion and hence it is important to ignite the passion in employees.
2. Provide freedom to the employees. Don’t constrain them too much.
3. Keep diversity in the group.
4. Follow the mantra of “Small is better”. A small focused issue with a small team leads to more creativity.
5. Celebrate ideas.
6. Accept failures. Encourage the courage.
7. Maintain continuity. Don’t stop after one good idea.

Panel Discussion: “Innovation cannot be Structured, it is a Moment of Serendipity”

The Panel Discussion had six eminent members from the industry as well as the armed forces and was chaired by Mr Naresh N Shahani, Managing Director, BMGI. The discussion started with each panel member describing innovation in the context of their industries and giving their views on whether innovation requires structure or can it thrive on moments of serendipity.

Starting the discussion, Air Marshall J Chandra drew similarities between innovation in the corporate world and the armed forces. He highlighted that because of the inherent adversity in armed forces, it becomes imperative for soldiers to innovate. In striking a balance between structure and serendipity, Air Marshall J Chandra talked about a dedicated group in the armed forces who rather than sticking to just one problem or approach, adopted multiple lines of thinking. This helps them find alternative solutions, which, quite often, prove to be more cost effective than what could have been achieved with the normal way of thinking.

Ms Anisha Singh, Founder and CEO, insisted that innovation is not just an idea, but what is implementable and can be effectively taken to the market. Quoting examples from her industry, she believed that the best on-line companies are the ones that are indianized. Indian companies such as and dominated global giants like and because of their ability to take the idea to the Indian market more effectively.

Mr Rajesh Sinha, CTO & Global Head of Innovation, CMC Ltd, stressed on the need for ideas to be fleshed out for better execution. Generating new ideas is not difficult; however implementing them is a huge challenge.

Mr Jagdish Mitra, CEO, CanvasM, recollected his business school professor’s quote, “A good idea is bad”. According to Mr Mitra, an idea is not good unless one can successfully take it to the market. Mr Mitra highlighted that India is a leader in two areas of innovation: one being recombinant innovation (otherwise known as Jugaad) in which the person somehow manages to get the job done. The second area is frugal innovation in which one manages to solve the problem with limited resources available.

Mr David Wittenberg, CEO, The Innovation Workgroup, asserted that structure is pivotal for innovation. He quoted a survey done in the US where it was found that only 0.2% of 6 million US patents were profitable, which makes a strong case for how one takes the idea to market rather than how innovative the idea itself is.

Mr Shahani also asked the group as to how an organization can sustain Innovation in the long term. The panel responded with three specific ideas:

a) establishing reward programs that put a big premium on execution
b) providing specific focus areas for teams to innovate on
c) ensure the originators of the idea are put on the team responsible for implementation so that they can see the idea through to its logical conclusion

Mr Shahani summarized the panel members’ thoughts that it is critical to have great ideas and these can be generated based on moments of serendipity. However, successful implementation of these ideas is even more critical and without a structure / method in place, it is unlikely that these ideas will see the commercial light of day.

Dr Vikram Vij, Vice President and Strategic Practice Head, Infosys, talked about the importance of sustainability in current times, given the challenges of global warming, pollution and environment deterioration. To this end, Dr Vij strongly believes that sustainability will drive the next wave of innovation and will include new ideas on renewable energy, carbon footprint and clean technology. Dr Vij talked about three key ideas that would help focus on sustainability:

1. Establishing unwritten social contracts that are based on trust rather than legal contracts
2. Finding ways of doing more with less in terms of resource usage and thus reducing the effect of resource depletion
3. Finding new business opportunities and revenue sources based on ideas associated with “Green Innovation”

Dr Vij highlighted trends in sustainability that is linked to technology and its evolution. Smart phones for example, could be used to switch off/on electronics remotely and for calculating carbon footprints. Green data centres that are efficient in energy consumption and smart grids that optimize power distribution were other examples quoted. Dr Vij concluded by saying that the trend towards sustainability innovation has already initiated with more organizations striving for business growth with a stronger focus on sustaining the environment.

Mr Gautam Khanna, Executive Director, 3M, in his talk on Product/Service Innovation cited several examples of new products such as the Asthma inhaler, Tata Nano and Scotch Brite, which have made life much easier for the consumer. Through these examples, he also cleared the myth that innovation is restricted to rich organizations only.

Mr Khanna talked about how innovation has been sustained in 3M for over the years and what 3M does at an organizational level to maintain the culture of innovation. For instance, 3M works to ensure that 25% of their revenues come from new products released in the last 5 years. The 15% rule in 3M allows employees to work on their pet project for 15% of the office time. Mr Khanna stressed on the habits at 3M that foster innovation: A committed Leadership, free sharing of ideas across business and a strong reward and recognition system.

Mr Khanna concluded by saying that no innovation is possible unless an organization knows what the customer wants.

Mr William Miller, Values Centred Innovation, shared his thoughts on Business Model Innovation, highlighting that 80-90% of innovations today are top-line innovations that focus on revenue growth of the company. He indicated that there are several other forms of innovation such as Knowledge Innovation, Leadership Innovation and Stakeholder Innovation that could also prove their worth to an organization in the long term.

Mr Miller talked about a 4x4x4x6 process to achieve business model innovation where 4x4x4x6 refers to 4 contexts, 4 goals, 4 innovation styles and 6 P factors.

-- 4 contexts – which paradigm drives the business model, whether it is holistic, rationalistic, humanistic or spiritual

-- 4 goals – integrate the outcomes you strive for (harmony of creation, prosperity in all its forms, human excellence, desires and achievements)

-- 4 innovation styles – think innovatively in four ways which are visioning, modifying, exploring and experimenting

-- 6 P factors – apply innovative thinking to each aspect of business model, which includes principles, people, product, process, planet and prosperity

About BMGI

Breakthrough Management Group International (BMGI), a global consulting firm with a strong focus on delivering results, partners with organizations in various stages of their business life cycle to transform their business performance. BMGI enables businesses drive growth and improve profitability. Headquartered in the US, BMGI has developed a loyal clientele that today exceeds 200 active clients. More than 400 engagements have been delivered by about 200 full-time consultants spread located in offices around the globe. BMGI has delivered cumulative benefits to its clients worth several billion dollars with an ROI of 5:1 to 20:1.

In India, BMGI is located in Mumbai. BMGI clients are leading Fortune 1000 Global companies and leading Indian companies from diverse industries such as financial services, IT/ITES, airlines, chemicals, FMCG, discrete manufacturing, telecommunications, petrochemical, textiles, biotechnology, healthcare & energy. Few of the major BMGI global clients are Hitachi, Siemens, Philips, Unilever, DeBeers, Avis Budget Group, TNT Express, and General Dynamics, Indian clients include Grameenphone, Vodafone, Hulamin, ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel, Brandix, Arvind, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Motilal Oswal, Asian Paints, Tata Chemicals, Reliance Industries Limited, Sudarshan Chemicals, Cognizant and Accenture.

BMGI is known to be one of the most effective thought leaders in the Business / Management Consulting space and has gained world-wide attention through its several international bestselling books such as The Innovators Toolkit, Insourcing Innovation, Design for Lean Six Sigma, A Team Leader Guide to Lean Kaizen Events and many more.

To view the photographs, please click on the links below:

Mr Naresh N Shahani, MD, BMGI India

Panel Chairman: Mr Naresh N Shahani, MD, BMGI India (third from left)
Panel Members: Mr David Wittenberg, Mr Jagdish Mitra, Air Marshall J Chandra, Mr Rajesh Sinha, Ms Anisha Singh

Mr Gautam Khanna, Executive Director, 3M India

Source: Business Wire India


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