‘Mahindra, Tata among most innovative Indian cos’

Last Updated: Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 20:48

Mumbai: Mahindra, Tata, HCL and Shaadi.com are among the most innovative companies in India, says innovation guru Robert B Tucker.

"I think these are the companies with the potential to bring innovative products to the market. These companies have a culture of innovation and they can be expected to launch products which would have a global appeal," said Tucker, the president of Santa Barbara-based Innovation Resource, while talking to reporters at the `Strategic Growth Forum 2011` organized by Ernst & Young here.

Tucker is also the founder of the Tucker Innovation Model and has authored the book, `Innovation Is Everybody`s Business`.
"It takes 80 to 100 new ideas to get a winning idea. Very few organisations have a successful ideation process. Apple does not have a formal process to ideate. But that has not stopped Apple from coming up with amazing ideas and transforming them into products successfully.

"But the question is, what would happen when Steve Jobs is no longer there? That is why it would make sense for Apple to put in place a formal process to ideate and innovate," he said.

Tucker thinks that "a culture of fear" can work for some time, but it may not give businesses the flexibility to change and to adapt quickly in a hyper-competitive era.

"What is the kind of behaviour that you reward in your organisation? That is exactly the kind of behaviour that your employees will display. You have to identify and bust barriers that block a risk-taking culture. Often, people are not sure what to do with a big new idea. That is an indicator of the lack of an innovation process," he said.

He spoke on how important it is to involve everybody in innovation, regardless of hierarchies. He cited the example of a receptionist who won an award for innovation.
"When Michelle, the receptionist was asked how she won the award, she said that she was on the phone all day with customers who kept on complaining and giving her suggestions.

She said that she simply listed them down and submitted."

He also had a few words of praise for the manner in which HCL retains its employees.

"They have an employee-first, customer-second strategy, which is very unconventional. The senior management deals with all customers. It is a radically different strategy," he said.

Innovation is still process-driven rather than product-driven in the Indian industry, he said, though he feels this would change in the next ten years.

"In ten years, I feel Indian companies will also launch innovative products which can be sold globally, rather than innovative processes. Indian businesses are still very traditional. But the sheer pace of change and the desire to globalise will bring about innovations," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 20:48

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