May 19, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore
On May 3, 2011, the Amrita School of Business hosted a one-day symposium on Strategic Innovation at Hyderabad. Over 70 delegates, mostly members of senior and middle management from the corporate world and senior academicians, attended.
Introducing the topic, Dr. G.K. Kalyanaram, Dean, ASB, elaborated on very close relationship between innovativeness, productivity and prosperity of a society.
“Empirical evidence shows that societies and economies which foster innovative and entrepreneurial efforts show a marked and sustained advantage in productivity and per-capita-income growth,” he affirmed.
Speaking of a critical need for innovation in primary, secondary, tertiary and higher education in India, Dr. Kalyanaram cited curricular innovations in ASB’s MBA program, including credit courses on Self Awareness and Personality Growth, and Ethics and Wellbeing.
Mr. Ragu Gurumurthy, Principal and Global Head of Innovation Practice, Deloitte LLP, New York, was the invited guest speaker.
Mr. Gurumurthy, who received an MBA from the MIT’s Sloan School of Management, has previously had leadership positions in Booz-Allen-Hamilton and Morgan-Stanley.
“Innovation enables companies to sustain margins over longer periods of time,” he said.
“Innovation covers products/offers and the non-product aspects of a business,” he emphasized. “It is important to focus on both dimensions to achieve the benefits of innovation.”
“Innovation has an offensive value to help generate and sustain growth, as well as a defensive value to help protect the core and current business,” he added.
The invited speaker’s afternoon session elaborated on the process of innovation and the diverse platforms for innovation.
“While the innovation strength of Apple and Intel has been in the product platform, the innovation strength of Infosys was in the talent platform,” he said. “Nokia’s strength in India was in distribution.”
Mr. Gurumurthy highlighted that innovation required designing flexible structures around functions which were inherently non-linear.
Citing the example of Tata Motors, he spoke about the importance of sourcing of ideas.
“Ideas were sourced for the Nano car under a specific boundary condition that the price of the car must be no more than Rs. 1, 000, 00,” he recalled.
“Productive innovation process must include sourcing of ideas, shaping and crafting those ideas, developing a viable business-case, and continuous monitoring and sensing. Sourcing of ideas must be varied and democratized, but such sourcing must be facilitated under informed boundary conditions and an overall strategic architecture.”
The presentation was followed by an active interaction with members of the audience, many of whom shared specific challenges faced with managing the process of innovation in their own businesses.
The event concluded with a dinner.