- Sahana Sarma, Partner at McKinsey and Company
- Amit Kalyani, CMD of Bharat Forge
- Girish Wardadkar, President and Executive Director, KPIT Cummins
Sahana depicted the Innovation HeatMap that plots the various cities across the world on the basis of innovation momentum and diversity. Based on the number of patents filed in a given period of time and spread across industries, these cities were classified as Silent Lakes, Shrinking Pools, HotSprings, or Dynamic Oceans. India is now a Hot Sprint. The goal should be to move to become a Dynamic Ocean (Silicon Valley is a Dynamic Ocean). The five key needs for innovations in her view are: Infrastructure, Business Environment, Human Capital, Leveraging local innovations, and Govt Regulation. Though India has made a mark in the space of IT and has more than its share of young talent, but still in terms of research, India stands low. To sum up, with the current recession, when things improve and the cycle moves to an upturn, things will move to a New Normal. For India, there needs to be a focus on infrastructure improvements, increasing R&D spend, generating more PhDs, and innovating and leveraging locally.
Amit Kalyani started with providing an overview of the Kalyani Steels. The priorities during the current times are: cash conservatism; operative efficiency; sending the message to grassroots level; cross-pollination of ideas; bringing the lowest common denominator into play; prevent lethargy from growing into the system; and work to maintain productivity. According to Amit, understanding that 50% is the New Normal, need is to work on retaining talent and leveraging existing relationships for newer opportunities. Some of the good practices around innovation at Kalyani Steel are co-creation with IITs, hiring PhDs, and building a process to reward and recognize innovation.
Speaking on Digital Manufacturing, Girish from KPIT Cummins shared his experiences on the agility and connectivity offered by the new techniques of manufacturing and expansion. The components being: Process Digitization; Process System Integration; Digital Prototyping; Layout Optimization; and Global Manufacturing. It has helped Cummins with an ability to automate design, and build a manufacturing model from scratch. Also to design and build a virtual plant before implementing the same. An Indian success story.
Some of the takeaways from the Q&A session that was followed were:
- Investments in R&D have not reduced, rather it has become focused on a narrower set of options. (2 or 3 instead of 10)
- Move towards leaner R&D. Thoughtful rationalizing of R&D
- Most companies do more of the D of the R&D. The R is done by institutions where the ideas are proven
- India needs to invest more in education, generate more PhDs, advance graduate degrees (tertiary education)
- What kind of innovation works in recession: Radial, breakthrough or incremental? All works. Incremental is easy or can be done organization wide. All work. Take what's best for your organization.