India learns to innovate to cultivate business resilience

India learns to innovate to cultivate business resilience
India learns to innovate to cultivate business resilience

The coronavirus pandemic has heralded unprecedented level of innovation, driven by the need to combat the disruption caused by the disease and build back better.

Nearly a year ago, the world of business (and indeed the world at large) was thrown into a state of flux as the now infamous coronavirus spread like wildfire, rampaging healthcare systems across the world, bringing supply chains to a standstill and upending business as normal.

Sujai Karampuri, CEO, T-Works along with others at the demonstration of a collaboratively developed sensor-based mechanical ventilator in light of Covid19 pandemic. Organisations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4 per cent by maturing their culture of innovation.
Sujai Karampuri, CEO, T-Works along with others at the demonstration of a collaboratively developed sensor-based mechanical ventilator in light of Covid19 pandemic. Organisations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4 per cent by maturing their culture of innovation.

Almost a year on, normal as we know it has been redefined. Technology, already an important part of daily life pre-Covid has become essential. In this pandemic world today, nothing is possible without technology, from procuring essential household items to accessing medical help to even sending Christmas presents. The world as we knew it has been be redefined. And the catalyst has been in innovation. As the old adage goes, innovation is the mother of necessity and nowhere was this more apparent than during the pandemic, as scores of businesses - micro, small medium or large - rose to meet the challenges through innovation. From innovating to developing drones for sanitising city blocks to using helping doctors remotely monitor patients.

How innovation saved Indian businesses

A report released by Microsoft and IDC titled, 'Culture of Innovation, Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in India' on 8 dec 2020, threw up some interesting findings. The report surveyed 439 business decision makers and 438 workers in India within a 6-month period, before and since COVID-19, as part of a broader survey among 3,312 business decision makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in the Asia Pacific region.

The report found that in a short span of six months, organisations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4 per cent by maturing their culture of innovation. Also close to 78 per cent of India organisations are speeding up digitalisation in a variety of ways to adapt to the new reality. This included launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embracing ecommerce and automation. As a result, Indian companies are aiming at increasing their revenue from digital products and services to 50 per cent in the next three years from 36 per cent at present. In fact, when asked about their priorities for the next 12 months, 45 per cent of the organisations in India indicated that they will focus on technology as most essential for business resilience and recovery.
“Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We have seen how the recent crisis has spurred the need for transformation; for organizations to adapt and innovate in order to emerge stronger,” said Rajiv Sodhi, COO, Microsoft India.

Key findings of the report

Prior to the pandemic, only 32.5 per cent of Indian business found innovation in their products and services easy. However, the pandemic has stressed the need to innovate in order to find timely solutions. While technology remains a key to the rapid innovation taking place, it essential that business leaders also understand the urgency of redesigning their overall business models beyond just digital products, services and processes. Organisations are already focussing on customer centricity as they work to ensure business resilience and faster recovery. However, encouraging and enabling employees to come up with breakthrough ideas, incorporating sustainability and integrating diversity are also vital.
In that context, the report suggests 4 important recommendations:
1. Fortify resilience with technology
Strengthen the organization's approach to digital transformation through resilient technologies, such as cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, allowing simplification, flexibility and agility. At the same time, ensure that cybersecurity is infused into the organization's digital footprint.
2. Invest in people's capabilities and skills
Create open and inclusive environment to attract the best and diverse talent. Integrate workplace innovation efforts that will be crucial to accelerate transformation; ensure the right rewards and incentives to encourage innovation; and unlock people's capabilities by upskilling to sustain the pace of innovation.
3. Leverage data to increase competitiveness
Capitalize on the value of data by developing new data-driven products and services and exploring new revenue streams to increase the organisation's competitiveness. It will be key that data-driven insights for enterprise-wide collaboration and decision-making, in addition to instituting a knowledge sharing culture.
4. Redesign processes to empower people to continuously drive innovation
Create a systematic approach to drive innovation - from ideation to commercialization - and establish a centralized digital transformation budget, along with digital KPIs. Customer centricity should be at the heart of continuous improvements, and a feedback loop is necessary to capture learnings on an ongoing basis.

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