Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making Breakthrough Innovations Happen

Let's play a game. I'll say a word and you tell me the name of the first organisation that comes to mind. Innovation, and I'm sure a lot of you out there said 'Apple' or maybe 3M, Google or Sony. How about an Indian organisation? And did you just say 'Tata Nano'? Any more names? Scratching your head?

What if I told you that organisations such as Dainik Bhaskar, Aravind Eye Hospital, Shantha Bio Tech, CavinKare, SuKam, Bosch India, ITC-IBD, Titan, Chola Vehicle Finance, Trichy Police and Surat Municipal Corporation are all perfect examples of Innovation in India? I'm sure you are rolling your eyes and wondering if I've lost my marbles.

When I saw the cover of this book I thought that here is another one of those 'Innovation' books that will talk about global examples. But what caught my eye was the byliner which said - How 11 Indians pulled off the impossible. India has always been known as the country of 'jugaad'. Send us your product and we will reverse engineer it and tell you quick fixes for it. Even if we do have innovations we seem to be shy to tell the world about these. In this scenario it is important that books like these present Innovations that have stemmed from India.

Porus Munshi and his team did extensive research over six years to present these 11 cases to us. Examples of 11 Indian organisations that have led with innovation and brought fantastic results to the country and their industry. Innovation is not just about a great idea but also about effective execution of that idea. This entails Setting a challenge to the team, Enrolling members to that challenge and making sure that the overall challenge and goals don't get diluted in the long run. Porus divides the book into these parts and takes examples of how Indian organisations executed their ideas along these lines.

The writing style is very interesting and is like a biography of the idea. Each story starts with how the idea was born, how it was cultivated, what challenges did the main players face in the journey, how it finally saw the light of day and what were the results. This ensures that you are hooked to the story and want to know what happens next. Porus also intersperses the story with questions that you should be asking yourself and your organisation. This makes you think about the idea in discussion and if you can apply this to your organisation or your team. What is also interesting is that the book takes examples from across industries - manufacturing, publishing, social, healthcare and government. As you read these stories it is difficult to compartmentalise them into an industry and say that this cannot work in mine. Each innovation and Porus' writing style makes you think about your processes and organisation.

Porus introduces a concept of an 'orbit-shifting challenge or idea'. This is not shifting status quo by a marginal delta but setting a challenge at first your scoff at and then get intrigued by and finally commit yourself to doing because it will enrich your life.

Can you enter a market or geography as No 1 each time you launch? Dainik Bhaskar did it and still does.
Can you marry processes in fast food joints like McDonalds to intricate healthcare and surgery? Aravind Eye hospital did that and fundamentally changed the way eye surgeries are done in the world.
Can you launch into a category owned by big brands and give them a run for their money with your limited budgets and reach? CavinKare did that and still does.
Can you fundamentally blow up a business model and turn your division from a small nondescript division to one of the primary revenue earners? ITC's IBD (International Business Division) did that and gave established organisations such as Cargill and ConAgra a run for their money.
Can your division make a product innovation that your parent company adopts and changes the way the industry operates? Bosch India did it and changed the costing of the Diesel engine for automobiles.
Can your company take on a challenge for your industry that the best haven't been able to do and deliver? Titan did with its slimmest water resistent watch in the world. Something that the Swiss said cannot be done. This execution probably got Ratan Tata to think about the 1 Lac car.

The book also introduces you to people like J.K.Tripathy who took over as Commissioner of Police of Trichy and single handedly dropped the crime rate reporting from 11,000+ in 1999 to just 7,000 in 2004 and increased the proactive reporting of crime by public from 78% to 98%. And S.R.Rao who took over as Municipal Commissioner of Surat when it was known as the dirtiest city in the country to one of the cleanest. During his tenure Surat's malaria cases dropped from 22,000 in 1994 to 496 in 1997 - just three years. How did these two people in the most bureaucratic of organisations effect a change that was so dramatic?

This book is a MUST READ for all professionals in India. I promise you that reading this book will not only give you immense knowledge and ideas on how you can effect change in your organisation or team but also instill great pride in the country.

I rate this book a 5/5 and a MUST READ!

No comments:

Post a Comment