“Nurturing Innovative Thinking for Sustainable Competitiveness” – 2

Part 2: Research Findings pertaining to ONGC

The Oil and Gas sector contributes enormously to the growth of Indian economy. The sector needs new ideas to face various critical challenges.

  • ONGC has been making efforts to create an ecosystem that is conducive for growth of Start-ups in the oil & gas sector which has a huge potential for technology-enabled ideas.
  • ONGC has launched a Rs 100 crore Start-up fund to foster, nurture and incubate new ideas related to oil and gas sector. The initiative, christened as ONGC Start-up, is in line with the Govt. of India’s initiative ‘Start-up India’.
  • ONGC Start-up has  set up a dedicated website to nurture innovative thinking that results in fresh implementable ideas in the oil and gas sector.
  • ONGC provides the support chain for start-ups including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring, market linkage and follow-ups.
  • To encourage its own employees to innovate, ONGC has instituted awards to its employees for their innovative ideas.
  • In 2015, Rajendra Bhambhu and Deepak Naik developed an innovative Safety Device for rigs that facilitates setting up of emergency brake to augment safety mechanism on drilling rigs.
  • Prajesh Chopra developed a unique Dual SIM Cellular Router System that provides Data Connectivity at Work-over Rigs. This innovation curtails the hassle of frequent dismantling and reinstallation during rig transportation, resulting in saving of time and money.

 

Part 3: Research Findings pertaining to TCS:

Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is an Indian multinational Information Technology (IT) service, consulting and business solutions company. It is a subsidiary of the Tata Group. TCS was ranked 64th overall in the Forbes World’s Most Innovative Companies ranking.

  • TCS has been investing in research for over three decades, since the founding of the Tata Research Development and Design Centre in Pune in 1981. The innovation process has gained maturity with about 2,500 people in innovation, asset creation and research and development across the organisation.
  • In 2005, the company spent Rs 40 crores on research and development worldwide.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2006 set up innovation labs and added innovation partner network and corporate technology board to stimulate innovative thinking to create new value propositions.
  • TCS partners from the innovation ecosystem and young people in TCS are invited to make presentations on their new ideas to the Board.
  • TCS plans for innovation in three time horizons: Derivative innovations to improve in current services and markets, Platform innovations to adapt to changes in the next two to three years, Disruptive innovations that are long-term research explorations which can be game-changers.
  • TCS set up innovation labs for engineering and automotive technology, financial services technology, banking technology, retail technology and airline technology.
  • TCS invested over Rs 7 billion in 2013 on innovation. They have been consistently investing about 1.5 percent of total turnover on research and innovation.
  • Their patent count has grown exponentially in the past few years. TCS filed for 1,746 patents and 114 were granted in 2014.
  • TCS has a 4E model for innovation management. The core research in the labs comes under the Explore’ Once the research concepts have been tested and are technologically sound and have market traction, they ‘Enable’ these ideas by engineering applications. Those that are most attractive to customers and business are then scaled up by an Exploit’ team. There is a fourth team, the ‘Evangelise’ team, that works as a glue between the other three ‘E’s, taking research to business and providing market information to research.
  • Anchored in TCS Innovation Labs, the TCS Co-Innovation Network (COIN) provides an environment for sophisticated IT research in leading-edge technologies across various domains.
  • COIN uses intellectual property management and partnering strategies to drive innovation. COIN forges and nurtures bonds with academic institutions, startups, venture funds, strategic alliance partners, multilateral organisations, Tata group companies, government agencies and industry trade bodies, the internal stakeholders of TCS and key clients. This helps to provide an ecosystem-like perspective to innovation to address specific innovation challenges.
  • Each year, several start-ups are channeled through the COC pipeline after undergoing rigorous business and technology due-diligence to validate go-to market readiness and product maturity.

Conclusion:

The research findings reveal that where a congenial environment is created to nurture and appreciate innovative thinking, there are tangible results like quantifiable saving in cost of operations and increase in efficiency.

Regardless of the organisational structure – whether Government department with social welfare as the primary objective or public sector undertaking or private for-profit enterprise; nurturing innovative thinking does help in improving productivity through cost benefits and higher efficiency, which in turn helps sustain competitive strength of the organisation.

Therefore Hypothesis is valid.

 

Interpretation of Research Findings:

The underlying basis for any form of innovation is in fostering creative thinking, building trust and authenticity and embedding a culture of innovation within an organization. Innovative thinking thus depends on the mindset and the ability to harnesses the collaborative genius of employees to intelligently address customer needs and wants.

Some of the strategies that companies employ to have a steady source of fresh ideas and access to unconventional thinking are collaboration with universities, research labs, creating technology accelerators, etc.

 

Concluding Remarks:

The fundamental driver behind any innovation process is the human factor associated with it. The quality of human capital determines the innovation capability of nations. Hence nurturing human capital at all levels and in all sections of society is crucial for developing innovation capabilities.

Human talent in an organisation can help create and sustain a competitive advantage because talented employees are carriers of intangible know-how assets, they are able to solve problems, have the power of innovative thinking and the ability to adapt. A qualified, motivated and integrated network of employees, properly adjusted to the culture of the company, is an asset that cannot be easily imitated.

India, with its billion plus population, being a nation with the largest population of young people, has the potential to create tremendous opportunities to drive future innovations, if human capital is nurtured.

Innovation is spurred by the availability of favourable conditions and a society that is open to new approaches. For this education, training, skill formation, diffusion of knowledge, etc. are necessary. India has to build up its education system into a source of high quality human capital to drive future innovations.

Countries should invest more in education, in building the human infrastructure to drive innovation and growth. Industry and businesses should also get involved in enhancing education systems. Businesses should create platforms for talented people to work and innovate together, to share the value created and achieve success.

The key to a nation;s economic growth is the nurturing and unleashing of its innovative and entrepreneurial talents. The challenge of development and stimulation of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship cannot solely be met from top-down strategic planning from a central government, but through the development of a more entrepreneurship-friendly environment.

 

Scope for further research

  • Critical thinking is a pre-requisite for innovation. Development of human capital through nurturing critical thinking is an area that needs to be studied.
  • The role of education, particularly higher education in development of critical and innovative thinking and fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship, is an area that could be studied.

 

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References

 

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