Friday, April 27, 2012


L-R- Mr.Ravi Arora -Vice-President, TQMS
Mr.R Gopalakrishnan-Director, Tata Sons
Mr.Sunil Sinha- Chief, TQMS & Mr.Mark B Denys

Tata Innovista 2012 receives over 2,800 entries from 71 companies

Mumbai, April 27, 2012: 
Zuhaib Khan

Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) announced the winners of the Tata Innovista 2012, at an awards ceremony held in Mumbai, last evening. 

Tata Innovista is a Group-wide programme held annually to encourage, recognise and showcase outstanding innovations done by Tata companies across the globe. From 282 entries from 44 Tata companies in 2008 to 2,852 entries from 71 Tata companies in 2012, Tata Innovista has grown exponentially, signifying a growing culture of innovation and risk-taking in the Tata Group.

59 Tata companies from India and 12 from overseas participated in the regional rounds of Tata Innovista 2012, to qualify for the global round. The entries at the regional rounds, held in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, London, New Jersey, Thailand and Shanghai, were reviewed by eminent external experts. 94 teams from 28 Tata companies were shortlisted for the global round. The finalists were judged by a panel of internal and external jury, comprising of distinguished personalities.

In the finals, awards were given under three categories:

Promising Innovations - Most successfully implemented innovations during the year with sub-categories of Product innovations, Service innovations, Core Process innovations and Support Process innovations. 1060 entries were received under this category. 

And the winners are ...

o Product innovations: Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel Europe
o Service innovations: Tata Technologies
o Core Process innovations: Tata Chemicals and Tata Steel Europe
o Support Process innovations: Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited

The Leading Edge - Most promising business ideas for the future with sub-categories of most innovative Unproven Idea which has potential for the future and, a new sub category, most innovative Proven Technology that is developed and piloted, but is yet to be commercialised.1705 entries were received under the category. 

And the winners are ...

o Unproven Idea – Two entries from Tata Chemicals won in this category
o Proven Technology - Tata Steel Europe, Tata Steel and Jaguar Land Rover
Dare To Try – Most novel, daring and seriously attempted ideas that did not achieve the desired results. This award is given to encourage a culture of risk-taking, perseverance and sharing openly. The 2012 edition received 87 entries under this category. 

And the winner is ...

o Rallis India

About Tata Innnovista

In 2006, the Tata Group started the process of capturing & celebrating innovations of Tata companies through Tata Innovista. The objective of this programme is to capture innovations in Tata companies, encourage innovators and innovations in Tata companies, share the levers used by them to identify and execute innovation projects, and to create a culture of risk-taking. In order to support Tata companies in their journey of innovation, TQMS, a division of Tata Sons, formed the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) in 2007. The objective of TGIF is to encourage, inspire and help create a culture that promotes innovation in Tata companies. Over the past five years, TQMS, under the guidance of TGIF, has been connecting Tata companies all over the world, stimulating innovative thinking and encouraging collaborative research. 

About Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF)

TGIF has a broad objective of fostering a culture of innovation in Tata companies. The forum comprises senior leaders and experienced practitioners from Tata organisations. Incepted in 2007, the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) focuses on developing new concepts and tools that help Tata companies in building a culture to promote innovation and also enhance generation and execution of more and better innovative ideas.  TGIF continuously builds the body of knowledge on innovation in the Tata Group by learning from the most innovative companies of the world and also getting the best minds on innovation to interact and train Tata managers. 

The TGIF charter:

Encourage Tata companies to create an innovative environment
Advise Tata companies on how to improve innovation capability
Create a Group wide community of innovation evangelists

The Tata Group Innovation Forum

Innovation, which has always been a part of the Tata DNA, has in recent years taken on a fresh impetus with the Tata group’s effort to democratise it and make it a continuous and ongoing process.  The inspiration for the movement came from Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata who at the JRD QV Award function in 2007 said, “I would like to see [us] creating the environment that allows our people to dream, giving those people the encouragement to convert that dream into reality… Great innovation has been built on questioning the unquestioned and dwelling in areas which others had considered impossible. I have really come to believe that, given the right circumstances, nothing really is impossible.”  In order to support Tata companies through the journey of innovation, the executive committee of Tata Quality Management Services (TQMS) formed the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) in 2007 under the leadership of R Gopalakrishnan, director, Tata Sons. The objective of the TGIF is to encourage, inspire and help create a culture that promotes innovation in Tata companies. Over the past five years, TQMS, under the banner of TGIF, has been connecting Tata companies all over the world, stimulating innovative thinking and encouraging collaborative research.  TGIF is guided by a 15-member core team that includes senior Tata leaders and innovation champions from different Tata companies. TGIF meets every two months to intensify its efforts towards creating an innovation ecosystem.   The forum has a three-pronged approach to building an innovation culture in Tata: 

To encourage Tata companies to create an environment that supports innovation.
To advise Tata companies on improving innovation capability.
To create a group-wide community of innovation evangelists.  The task was huge. And TGIF took the lead by developing new concepts and tools to help companies to generate and execute innovative ideas and also measure their innovativeness. 

The efforts of TGIF are meaningfully grouped under four broad heads: 
1. Demystifying innovation. 
2. Encouraging innovation. 
3. Measuring innovation. 
4. Collaborative innovation.    


TGIF regularly invites academics and other experts in the field to conduct workshops and seminars to help Tata companies understand the concept of innovation, to introduce new innovation concepts and tools, and to stimulate innovative thinking among Tata managers.  Learning from international experts

  • The series was initiated in 2007 with a workshop by Prof Clayton Christensen, currently the Kim B Clark professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and also an independent director in Tata Consultancy Services, who taught the concepts of disruptive innovation.

  • In 2008, the concept of ‘Open Innovation’ was introduced with the help of Prof Henry Chesbrough of the University of California,  Berkeley, and executive director, Center for Open Innovation, Berkeley. Prof Chesbrough is widely known as the father of open innovation. The lessons from open innovation have been rolled out in the form of Tata InnoVerse, a platform which encourages Tata companies to collaboratively generate and implement innovative ideas and solutions.

  • Prof Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategic and international management at London Business School and a world-renowned expert on innovation, conducted a workshop in 2008 exclusively for a few Tata companies. This workshop sought to identify and strengthen the weak links of the innovation value chain. This concept was later adopted by TGIF as InnoMeter.

  • The following year, in 2009, a workshop was held at the Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC) for senior Tata leaders. This workshop was facilitated by Dr James Canton, CEO and chairman of Institute for Global Futures, from San Francisco, USA.

  • In 2011, Prof William Ouchi of the University of California at Los Angeles conducted a two-day workshop in which the senior leadership of the Tata group participated. Prof Ouchi is a management guru known for the path-breaking Theory Z. The workshop explored the traits of innovative leaders, the way to strike the right balance between ‘delivery driven’ and ‘discovery driven’ managers, and the role of organisation structure in fostering creativity and innovation.

  • TGIF also organised several training programmes by Langdon Morris, partner of Innovation Labs and an affiliate of WDHB Consulting Group, and David Wittenberg, CEO of The Innovation Workgroup, among others, primarily to encourage Tata managers to think and act innovatively.  These seminars, workshops and training programmes have significantly enhanced the knowledge base on innovation within the group. In addition, TMTC, with the help of internationally renowned experts like Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) based in Israel, also works to continuously build capability in Tata companies.   Learning from innovative organisations Seeking to demystify the concept of innovation and helping group companies gain an understanding into the practices followed by innovative companies, TGIF has organised four innovation missions to some of the most innovative companies of the world.

In 2006, a group of senior Tata leaders went to the USA to see innovation at work in six companies — 3M, Microsoft, Intel, HP, Raytheon and NanoDynamics. In 2007, the mission, with a different set of people, went to Japan to study the role and importance of R&D-driven innovations. The companies visited on this mission were Ito-En, Fuji, Olympus, Nissan Motors, Toshiba and Hitachi.   In a separate visit to Cambridge, UK, a few Tata executives sought to understand the institution’s ecosystem for innovation.  In 2010, TGIF organised an innovation mission to Israel with a special focus on water, agro, life sciences, nano-materials, and information and communications technology. A 15-member team visited more than 50 cutting-edge Israeli companies to learn more about their innovation processes and challenges. Some of these meetings have resulted in collaborative projects.   Knowledge sharing In order to effect large-scale positive changes within the group, knowledge garnered through the above means is intensively shared. In a bid to create a knowledge base and stimulate an innovation culture within the Tata group, TMTC regularly organises programmes for sharing and disseminating information.   Some of the executive leadership programmes organised by TMTC (with the help of Harvard and Michigan universities) have a special focus on innovation. In addition, TMTC regularly publishes research outcomes on innovation. 

Some of the publications are:
  • Innovation and Innovativeness: The Tata experience
  • 12 levers that foster innovation
  • 12 ways to use innovation strategy to create competitive edge
  • Innovation in India – The emerging dynamics
  • Leveraging science for business transformation
  • Thinking out of the box – Best Practices from world class companies   

In addition to these, TQMS, in association with Group Publications (GP), has chronicled the lessons from the innovation missions to the USA, Japan and Israel in three different publications. It has also released the Voyagers series of publications, which narrate innovative projects of the winners of Tata InnoVista, the annual event celebrating innovation within the Tata group.  ENCOURAGING INNOVATION TGIF realised very early that the way to encourage innovation was to create legends and stories around it, make heroes out of people who had dared to do things differently and recognise those people. The forum has conceptualised meaningful group-level initiatives to encourage innovation in Tata companies.   Tata InnoVista Started in 2006, Tata InnoVista is a group-wide programme that celebrates the successes and struggles of innovation. 

The objectives of this programme are to:
  • Capture innovations of Tata companies to instil self-confidence among Tata managers. (These captured innovations are an excellent way to trigger new ideas in different situations).
  • Recognise innovators and encourage innovations in companies.
  • Share and learn the levers used by companies to identify and execute innovation projects.
  • Build a culture of appropriate risk taking. 
Tata companies participate in the regional rounds to qualify for the national round. At the regional level, entries are reviewed by non-Tata senior executives in 10 regional rounds organised across the world — in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, London, New Jersey, Singapore/Thailand and Shanghai.
The finalists are judged by a panel of judges that in the past has included renowned personalities such as Dr RA Mashelkar, the former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Dr K Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation; Dr Arun Maira, member of the Planning Commission chaired by the Prime Minister of India; and Kiran Karnik, former chief of Nasscom, among others.  The winners of Tata InnoVista are felicitated on April 26, the birth anniversary of noted Indian mathematician S Ramanujan. The event is usually webcast to Tata managers around the world. The participation and popularity of Tata InnoVista has grown from 300 entries from 47 Tata companies in 2008 to 2,800 entries from 71 Tata companies in 2012. 

Tata InnoVista winners are awarded in three categories:  Promising innovations honours the most successfully implemented innovations during the year. It has the following sub-categories: service innovations, innovations in core and support functions, business model innovations and green innovations. 

The Leading edge invites entries in two sub categories, namely:

a) Innovative business ideas that have not yet been tried (a set of themes are provided every year to invite innovative ideas).

b) Successfully piloted or proven technologies that hold promise for the future. This emphasises the role played by technologists and researchers in successful innovations.

Dare to try... 
Introduced in 2007, Dare to try... recognises sincere and audacious attempts to create a major innovation that failed to get the desired results. The idea is to encourage the culture of ‘risk taking’, perseverance and sharing openly. This award is a celebration of the spirit that propels individuals and teams to try and innovate and is a reward for the risk-taking capability that is necessary for path-breaking innovation. An analysis revealed that the main reasons for such failures were technological barriers (50 per cent), non-acceptance by the user (26 per cent) and commercial non-viability (24 per cent).  The initial response to this award was lukewarm as companies, especially in India, were hesitant to share their failures. It is only over the last three years that companies and managers have begun to participate in this category in larger numbers. The entries in this category grew from 12 in 2007 to 87 in 2012.

Tata InnoVerse 

In 2010, TGIF launched Tata InnoVerse, which is a networking platform that functions as an innovation hub for all Tata companies. Through this platform, Tata employees can network, collaborate, share, remix, predict and implement innovative ideas swiftly.  

The InnoVerse website ( has been developed using the web 2.0 approach and is used by 12 Tata companies for creative problem solving.  

The successful pilot launch of Tata InnoVerse led to the initiation of a new experiment called Challenges Worth Solving (CWS), where a few companies have sought creative solutions to critical problems.  Some of the problems raised in the pilot CWS were:  

  • Having launched Tata Swach (one of the most affordable household water purifiers in the world), how can Tata Chemicals create a water business of size, scale and relevance?  
  • What are the key differentiators that should be offered by Titan eyewear in order to enhance its leadership and reach an unassailable position in the market?
  • When finished jewellery comes back from the sub-contractors, what innovative method can be used to accurately verify that sub-contractors have used only those diamonds given to them? 
  • How can a company bring about changes in the power consumption pattern (where power consumption is low at night and high during the day) to help reduce peak power shortage?
  • What kind of path-breaking ideas are possible for the next generation of personal device that will revolutionise the way people communicate, operate, travel... in short, live and identify with?
  • How can Voltas forecast demand for air-conditioners well in advance, given that the market is highly seasonal, 60 per cent of the sales take place in the summer, and there is a long lead time for critical components such as copper tubes and compressors?   For the CWS pilot, 70 per cent of the ideas came from other Tata companies. The best ideas will receive a special award on April 26, 2012 during the Tata InnoVista awards.

MEASURING INNOVATION TGIF uses a simple and easy-to-use tool to measure the innovativeness of a team, a business unit, a department or a company. The tool — called InnoMeter™ — is effective in improving the innovation ecosystem of an organisation.   InnoMeter TGIF, after conducting extensive research on the various methods available to measure innovation, finally adopted the InnoMeter™. 

The InnoMeter borrows a lot from the following literature: 

  • M Hansen and J Birkinshaw; The Innovation Value Chain, Harvard Business Review, 2007 
  • Julian Birkinshaw; ‘The Paradox of Corporate Entrepreneurship’, Strategy + Business Magazine (Booz Allen Hamilton)

The tool helps determine the state of the innovation process and innovation culture within an organisation or department (see Fig 1). It broadly covers three aspects of innovation: (a) Innovation process, (b) Innovation culture and (c) Strategic focus, and enables the company to clearly spot weak areas. 

The InnoMeter exercise has several stages that include a 30-question survey to all employees, benchmarking this data with 100 other companies, analysis and in-depth interactions with key influencers, and brainstorming sessions with employees. The findings of the InnoMeter are holistic and enable companies to work on improving the entire innovation ecosystem.  The InnoMeter study has been conducted in round 25 Tata companies from the metals, chemicals, services, engineering, consumer goods and telecom sectors.  

In 2009, a study was conducted on the ‘State of Innovation’ in 13 Tata companies that covered around 2,000 managers. A similar study was conducted in 2010 for Tata companies in Europe. One of the major findings of both these studies was that managers of almost all companies were not fully aware of innovative work within their company. This indicated the need for more programmes that recognise and celebrate the organisation’s innovation efforts.

InnoCompass and InnoMultiplier The InnoMeter study should ideally be followed by the implementation of the InnoCompass and InnoMultiplier workshops. 

InnoCompass helps a company develop the basic understanding and processes for innovation. This includes the definition of innovation, the innovation portfolio and a mechanism to track this portfolio 

The InnoMultiplier workshops are based on the concepts developed by Prof Clayton Christensen and help identify and fill in the white spaces in an organisation’s innovation portfolio.   


The learning missions to the US and Japan had revealed that innovative ideas are more likely to be thrown up when companies from different industries come together. In a meeting with the chief technology / research officers of 13 Tata companies, it was decided that opportunities for technological innovations should be explored through the formation of clusters of Tata companies in related businesses.   
InnoClusters InnoClusters are among the most promising, enticing and challenging initiatives of TGIF. The idea of an InnoCluster is to leverage the infrastructural and intellectual strengths of technical experts in various Tata companies for innovative projects in certain selected areas. Currently there are three types of clusters.  1. Thematic clusters with only Tata companies as participants (eg: nanotechnology, water, information and communication technology) 2. Between Tata companies and external enterprises (eg: Dupont, Corning, 3M, P&G, companies from Israel) 3. Between Tata companies and an institute (eg: Fraunhofer) 

While InnoCluster is a programmed method to strike and nurture collaborations, the Tata InnoVista programme also triggers a lot of collaborations across Tata companies on specific subjects.   CONCLUSION All successful organisations have to reinvent themselves constantly in search of pioneering concepts. They have to be prepared to adapt and innovate. Corporate history is replete with examples of successful companies whose innovations may have failed at times. But there is no record of any successful company that has lasted long without being innovative.   TGIF is doing its best to assist Tata companies in building a culture (see Fig 3) where innovations across all ranks and functions of the company can thrive. 

Tata Innovista 2012
Winning entries in the Promising Innovations category

Promising Innovations:  Product

A Low Cost Stop-Start Device: Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover has developed an engine stop-start technology to improve fuel economy of passenger vehicles. This technology reduces overall fuel consumption by stopping the engine when the vehicle is stationary. The team developed a starter motor-based system that equaled the existing belt based system in the start performance. The technology used in diesel and petrol engines works sufficiently quickly and intuitively so that users do not get tempted to turn it off manually. This system has the potential to save £20 million over the lifecycle of the Jaguar XF.

HP Rail Steel – Tata Steel Europe

Customers of Tata Steel Europe were demanding higher wear resistance and lower life cycle costs in rail steel. Conventional technology had reached its performance limits to address these requirements. The team developed a novel approach to produce high performance rail without the need for additional capital expenditure. Field trials have indicated lower maintenance costs that could lead to savings of over £150 thousand over a 5-year period. Moreover, there is a 75% reduction in carbon footprint over the existing standard grade rail.

Promising Innovations: Service

KBE Applications Using GPU Computing – Tata Technologies

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This quote by Aristotle has been validated by this project. Standard Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) applications in the automotive industry involve long cycle times to process large number of parameters and complex data. These applications have limited processing capability resulting in long sequential activities. The existing KBE software has been restructured by the Tata Technologies team to incorporate parallel programming by using Graphic Cards of existing workstations. This has resulted in KBE applications throwing up results in seconds rather than long hours. The main advantage is that the company does not have to make any extra investment to roll-out this technology since the resources (CUDA enabled graphic cards) are already present in the system.

Promising Innovations:  Core Process

Innovative DAP granulation – Tata Chemicals

Tata Chemicals is a large manufacturer of Di-Ammonium Phosphate which is used by farmers as a fertiliser.  These farmers experienced shortage of fertilisers due to downtime of the manufacturing plant at Haldia. Tata Chemicals team redesigned the process equipment which led to less material buildup on the shell. This redesign was implemented at a cost of Rs.10000 and without any long shutdown of the plant. The innovation has now reduced process downtime by about 40%, and increased plant utilisation from 84 to 90%.

Advanced High Strength Steel Coating  – Tata Steel Europe

Advanced High Standard Steel is needed for safer and fuel efficient vehicles. Producing this kind of steel is difficult as partially coated steel surfaces are prone to corrosion and thus unfit for use. Tata Steel Europe conceived, designed and implemented an innovative technique that improved the existing industry standard technique. This innovation was developed at one third of the cost of the industry standard. Tata Steel Europe has accrued benefits to the tune of £ 100 thousand till date. 

Promising Innovations – Support Process

Last mile AT & C loss reduction by CS intervention - Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd

Last mile aggregate technical & commercial (AT&C) losses had been at a high level. These losses had been reduced from 53% to 15% over the last 7 years. The team later aimed at reducing these last mile losses by enabling and empowering slum clusters through Corporate Sustainability interventions. About 1.4 lakh customers were indexed through GIS and using elected government representatives as ambassadors of change. This created a win-win scenario and helped establish a long term relationship. The project thus has achieved an additional reduction of 2.6% of AT&C losses leading to cumulative financial benefits of Rs 114 crores and enhanced credibility among the community. 

The Evoque Effect – Jaguar Land Rover (A special mention by jury)

The Evoque Effect by Jaguar Land Rover was a marketing campaign to build awareness and consideration for the new Range Rover Evoque during the 8 month pre-launch period. This campaign was seen by over 8 million in China, creating over 3 million RMB in free PR coverage. There were over 50,000 iPhone and Android application downloads, and over 53,000 sales leads, turning into around 3,000 prospects.  Using traditional advertising mediums would have required an investment of at least 10 times the amount to reach the same audience levels.

About Tata Quality Management Services

Tata Quality Management Services, a division of Tata Sons, is entrusted with the mandate to set standards of excellence and partner closely with Group companies to help them achieve their business excellence and improvement goals. Tata Quality Management Services is the custodian of the TBEM assessment process and the Tata Code of Conduct.

Tata Quality Management Services aspires to be a trusted partner in the sphere of business excellence to all companies in the Tata Group. It aims to offer value to Group companies for enhancing their performance and global competitiveness. Tata Quality Management Services collaborates with Group companies, through long and short-term initiatives, in key areas namely TBEM Training, TBEM Assessment, Improvement Services, Climate Change, Innovation, Corporate Governance & Ethics, Safety and Education Excellence.

About Tata Group:

The Tata Group comprises over 100 operating companies in seven business sectors: communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products and chemicals. The Group has operations in more than 80 countries across six continents, and its companies export products and services to 85 countries. The total revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $83.3 billion (around Rs3,796.75 billion) in 2010-11, with 58 per cent of this coming from business outside India. Tata companies employ over 425,000 people worldwide. The Tata name has been respected in India for more than 140 years for its adherence to strong values and business ethics.

Every Tata company or enterprise operates independently. Each of these companies has its own board of directors and shareholders, to whom it is answerable. There are 31 publicly listed Tata enterprises and they have a combined market capitalisation of about $87.40 billion (as on April 19, 2012), and a shareholder base of 3.6 million. The major Tata companies are Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communications and Indian Hotels.

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