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Driving Innovation-Led growth Pivot to the New

In today’s day and age, it is no more business as usual for companies. Advanced technology-led disruption is here, and is here to stay. Preventing it is not an option. The important question is, how do businesses best utilise advanced technologies to thrive in disruption? With the theme of Pivot to the New, the third edition of Digital Fast Forward, presented by Accenture and The Economic Times, saw a rich exchange of thoughts on how companies can drive innovation-led growth in a post-digital world


Unlocking India Inc’s Innovation potential

Today’s era is defi ned by one exponential  technology wave after another. The pace of change is increasing and so is the need for companies to rapidly evolve and innovate. But, what really is innovation in today’s context? Is it just technological innovation or is there a need for an innovative corporate strategy and culture within organisations? Our panel of experts from different industries discussed how India Inc. can deliver on its innovation potential and drive business growth. The session was moderated by Alokesh Bhattacharyya, Senior Editor, The Economic Times. Keeping pace with the changing times and yet standing out in the crowd is crucial. “Apart from technology adoption, we try to be more relevant to the customer.

For example, we are building a platform for agriculture lending, which will have any and every product or service that a farmer needs,” said P.S. Jayakumar, MD and CEO, Bank of Baroda. “It will provide better prices through market linkages to farmers and help us achieve relevance.” The energy sector is expected to see a lot of disruption too. “Yes. And a lot of that will stem from the technology advancements coming in the renewables sector,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO, Adani Solar. “We feel that 20-30 per cent of India’s energy needs would shift to renewables and there will be a huge shift in terms of how energy would move,” he added. What about sustainability? “For a paper manufacturer like us, it defi – nitely is important,” said A.S. Mehta, President & Director, JK Paper. The company owns 70,000 acres of land and plants eucalyptus trees in batches, ensuring it plants more trees than it cuts. “We are also cloning trees that can be used for making paper in three years. It has helped us become the cheapest paper producer in the world.”

But, are Indian companies on par with their global counterparts in their innovation journey? “Some global giants are ahead of us because they have a lot of money to invest. But some Indian companies, such as one of India’s biggest private sectorbanks, was always ahead of its time. It allowed you to open an account in 20 minutes, which even some of the biggest banks in more mature markets took three days to do,” said Mohan Sekhar, Senior Managing Director-Accenture Technology and Global Lead, Accenture Advanced Technology Centres. “As far as solar cells are concerned we are on par with most global giants. In fact, new technologies may take over polysilicon panels in another fi ve years. So, we have to constantly innovate, make our people also buck up and keep a tab on what is happening in the global space,” said Nair. Is Accenture in India following the wise pivot? “Of course. We rapidly built our capabilities through acquisitions and by transforming our talent to what we call ‘New IT’. We also built 50 innovation hubs (one of them in Bengaluru) across the globe. We pivoted, talent transformed, invested in infrastructure and also co-innovated with our clients,” Sekhar said.


Businesses are moving away from just exploring the digital era to actually living it. They are bringing technology to the core of their businesses and innovating to use it to the best of their advantage. When we talk about digital transformation, how exactly should the journey be for a company? Some industry bigwigs helped us get a ringside view of how they have led their organisations in the transformation journey and why they feel any change should begin at the core. The discussion was moderated by Raghu Gullapalli, MD-Industrial, Asia Pacifi c & Africa, Accenture, and was attended by Dr. Deepak Phatak of IIT-Bombay; Sanjeev Srinivasan of Bharti AXA and Tarun Katial of ZEE5. The media & entertainment industry has been disrupted multiple times in the past few years, particularly with the penetration of smartphones and increasing popularity of online content. What really has been the big change? “For the fi rst time, media has got disrupted from being broadcast to narrow cast and from narrow cast to being personalised to an individual. People now watch videos on demand, on their choice of device, and at their choice of time, so the entire scheme of things has changed,” said Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5. Have you kept pace with this change? “Absolutely, we at ZEE5 have ensured we transform ourselves in a way that it becomes part of our culture. It’s important to embrace the new.” With platforms like Byju’s and Khan Academy coming into the picture, it is evident that technology is impacting the education sector too. How is higher education and the core aspects of teaching getting effected? “Humans can’t change as fast as businesses. Nevertheless, there are many changes happening. For example, MOOC (massive open online course) and blended MOOCs are getting adopted in higher education and there is a strong push towards training teachers in technology adoption,” said Dr. Deepak Phatak, Professor, IIT Bombay. But it’s not only about teaching, learners too need to be encouraged to keep trying new things and solve problems innovatively. “Going forward, we are trying to enhance learning as done by Byju’s and Khan academy,” Dr. Phatak said. With more and more people moving online, B2C industries such as insurance are undergoing a rapid change digitally. “The insurance risk is now getting demystifi ed. Digital is able to give the footprint of the consumer from many perspectives in terms of where do they stay, how do they drive, etc. and all this information is going to disrupt the way pricing is done in the sector,” said Sanjeev Srinivasan, MD & CEO, Bharti AXA General Insurance. Insurance is a tricky domain and so is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. “So, we try and educate new customers about how the whole insurance business works so that they understand what the product service means to them.” The discussion made one thing crystal clear — any journey of transformation has to begin at the core. That is the only way to harness the true power of new-age technologies.

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