A Day at the STAR Entrepreneurship Awards Function – Taj Lands End.

By Team YS
March 11, 2010, Updated on : Thu Apr 08 2021 09:07:14 GMT+0000
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Akshay Shah, Executive Director & COO, iWeb Technology Solutions Pvt.Ltd.


Hi, am back with another splendid account on my experience with Entrepreneurship and Innovation :-)

11th Feb 2010 – I was invited at the Indira Innovation Summit 2010 which was going to be followed by the STAR Entrepreneurship Awards function (where I was the youngest Entrepreneur being awarded under the STAR Entrepreneurship Awards category) which being hosted at the Taj Lands End Mumbai by Indira College of Engineering & Management and was happening vis-à-vis the World HRD Congress meet at the same premise on the same day. It was really a day well spent and had penned a few of the valuable snippets which I picked up during the day would like to share with my fellow readers as below and am sure this will help one and all:

The entire speaker team arranged from around the world was indeed mind boggling. There were experts on Innovation right from the US to Canada to Engalnd,Portugal, China, Japan and even Germany. It was truly a global event in every sense!!

The first session was from Mr Peter Merrill who is a global Innovation expert at Quest Management Systems and a consultant to top notch Companies like RIM of Blackberry fame. He talked on all the aspects involving Innovation. The Salient points as below:

  • He says while innovating, get more ideas. Just ‘One’ is ‘Not Enough’
  • He says take the path your heart and mind says, ‘Sacrifice the Sacred’
  • Always involve the customer in your Innovation Ideas.
  • He adores the saying my Thomas Edition ‘Genius is 1% Inspiration & 99% Perspiration’
  • He says Innovation is all about ‘Execution”
  • Innovation requires constant ‘Sacrifices’ at all levels!!
  • On his website there is access to an online innovation test which the entire company should take, please refer www.petermerrill.comfor further details on the same.

Next in line was another influential speaker on Innovation ‘Dr Gerard Tellis’. From University of Southern California. His strategies in a gist as below:

  • He highly recommends reading his own book called ‘Handbook of Advertising’ by Dr Gerard Tellis
  • He wants all firms to be very innovative and take risks
  • He explained Innovation with a fact of history saying in the year 1420 the most powerful Country of the World was China but by the year 1440, in just 20 years all the power had gone away? Why? Reason was with the death of the then Chinese Emperor Zhu Di it was the end of innovation & risk taking by the Chinese. They destroyed and burnt all maps which China had developed then to discover the world and from that day it was the era of Socialism which still thrives in China. Who knows, had Zhu Di survived – China would have been a world superpower today. Years later Columbus discovered America and some of these ancient Chinese maps aided him to do this!!!
  • Similarly he gave a corporate example of the firm Xerox. Xerox has a big R&D Centre at Paul Alto in its early days and was the most innovative company of the 1970s and its scientists had developed the world’s first Computers, Personal Computers (PCs) with keyboards and also a Local Area Network Connectivity. This was 10 years before Microsoft & IBM had even thought of such an innovation!!!! But why is Xerox not known for its Computers or PCs? Reason being the Management thought that the core business of Xerox was related to physical documents and if all becomes virtual their core business will shut down, thinking this, they never launched the Computers and PCs and the post 1980 its all history with Microsoft & IBM at the fore front of PCs!! Another reason for Xerox’s downfall was that the then Product Champion at Xerox Mr Wilson died and there was no owner of Innovation left @ Xerox!!
  • He highlighted one very important point during his session. He says, Do not just register Patents and forget them. Work on those patents and Innovate, Commercialize it. He says, The maximum number of Patents in the world are with IBM but who is the most innovative company of the world? Its Apple and Apple does not have even half of IBMs patents. So his point was clear, Innovate to commercialize and not just to register & forget it foreever!!!! He gave another live example of Sony who was the innovator of Walkman but could not innovate devices like iPod which belongs to Apple. He showed that Sony has over 1447 Patents registered in its name and is a USD 40 billion group, on the contrary Apply has just over 103 patents but is a USD 45 billion enterprise. Case in point is ‘Commercialize your Innovations & Innovate to Commercialize not just Register’
  • He proved with certain facts that the Richest companies of the world are the ones who are the most Innovative!!
  • His internal task list for innovation which any company should adhere to is as follows:

à The Internal Company Culture is the most important ingredient for constant innovation.

à Tolerance to risks is another essential ingredient as innovation is all about taking BIG risks without any expectation to commercial returns whatsoever!

à There have to be internal Product Champions who generate an Internal Competition. This is a must for Innovation to thrive.

  • He also gave the insight into how Apple made the iPod. Mr Tony Fadell who is the Innovator & Creator of iPod along with the Founder Promoter Steeve Jobs made the iPod. But Tony did not work for Apple from the day 1. He was first employed at Philips but since the management of Philips did not allow him to innovate, he quit and started his own entrepreneurial firm making MP3 players. It was then, Steeve Jobs from Apple picked him and the rest is history!!
  • He says many companies give excuses that Innovation is costly, there is always crises in companies so they have no time for innovation.
  • He says there has to be will for innovation which leads to a great vision for the same!!!

Ms Julie Koch who leads the Centre for Innovation at Mayo Clinics also shared some useful and highly innovative steps on how they innovate at Mayo Clinics.

  • First of all she highlighted that Mayo chain of Clinics is a Not for Profit Healthcare Organization which many of us did not know.
  • She said, across the world healthcare has failed to innovate!
  • At mayo their main thrust is at healthcare innovation.
  • They have systems to take fingerprints of patients and their known ones which link to the central government healthcare database. Such a database gives immediate access to any doctor (public or private) to the patient history and give him / her standard treatment across the country! It’s a really innovative way to manage Patient Recognition you see!!
  • Photographs and X Rays all available on the screen to the concerned doctor or hospital staff as they speak to the patients in real time.
  • They also have a system of 3D imaging. Radiography is what they planning to manage via 3D very soon!
  • They watch and take regular feedback from customers / patients to Innovate.
  • She says, failure is always a stepping stone to success!!!

Next in-line was Dr James Woudhuysen from Leicester who did an Asia Launch of his new handbook called ‘Big Potatoes’ – The London Manifesto for Innovation. He highlighted the below points on Innovation.

  • This one was targetting the VCs and Angel Investors. He gave a case study proving that the World’s greatest and most innovative products were born out of ZERO MARKET RESEARCH. There was no research done on Walkman which Sony innovated out of a mistake more than an actual need!! He says the iPad has very less of market research and more of gut feel & dreams of the Apple Management.
  • He spoke highly of Mahatma Gandhiji but he said he was against his principles of taking baby steps. He said think very BIG from Day 1.
  • For him its SCALE which is BEAUTIFUL and not SMALL which is BEAUTIFUL
  • He gave proofs of innovation in remote markets like Kenya where he says mobile is the way to access the internet there and make payments!!
  • He strongly feels that the 3rd Industrial Revolution is going to be a combination of ‘IT + Biology Fusion’
  • He feels Innovation is not Market Research based. It’s the love for the product or service + gut feel which makes it desired and sellable.

  • He says research is something whose Outcome no one is sure of, then how can Innovation be Market research based?????
  • His manifesto on research says candidly that do not praise or buy ‘Useless’ Research documents and white papers!!
  • He feels ‘Change favours the prepared mind’ so be everyready for change and innovation 24/7
  • He compares the Western Youngster as loosers & lethargic since they want all the Innovation at their finger tips. They want to become Celebrities Overnight!!!
  • On the contrary he feels it’s the East where Innovation is happening and India & China are its major participants. He feels Indians & Chinese are really working hard towards Innovation.
  • He says the Westeners suffer from the Information Fatigue Syndrome!!
  • He highly recommends reading the book ‘To Innovate is Human’ by Henry Petroski.
  • He gave an example of China, where they build a complete new home ‘On-demand’ in 6 hours flat!!!! The wardrobe and all in the chinese house is 100% customizable.
  • He is a big fan of the Toyota Systems
  • He strongly feels that failures cannot be avoided to succeed.
  • He opines that ‘Chance & Surprise’ are Allies.
  • He claims openly that Google was a surprise, did no market research but came by chance you see!!
  • Also stated a very big fact that Innovation risks your family life for sure!! Gave an example of the scientist who discovered that Stomach Ulcers are caused by the Bacteria Pylori. He nearly lost his live and his wife in this research!
  • He is strongly of the Opinion that the Western countries are loosing out on Innovation the Eastern countries. He says more design is happening in the East compare to the west. The Governments, NGOs and firms all Innovating in the East!!!
  • He gave a lovely example of Innovation by Chance. There was an event happening in a place on how to throw the Ice Cream Cups after eating the ice cream, a beggar who was passing by commented sarcastically – why the hell you throw the Cups, eat them too – This made the sponsors of the event think twice and then came the birth of the Ice Cream Cone!!!

Post Lunch there was a very interesting session by Prof Takeshi Natsuno of Keio University – Japan. He is a great innovator for mobile technology and has the worldwide patent for ringtone downloading facility on mobile phones along with the fingerprint technology which he first embedded into mobile phones where he works for in Docomo Japan.

  • He has also put Barcode on Mobile phones and makes mobile games to work via barcodes.
  • He has put Ticketing in Japan on mobiles and also television on mobile phones.
  • He says most of the Japanese now work without paper money and plastic money. They use their mobile wallets to pay!
  • He was of the opinion that Japan has the first mover advantage as far as mobile technology goes but countries like Indian can benefit and catch up faster as they will not repeat mistakes what the Japanese and Europeans did as they were the first movers!!

The next session was from Mr Fernando Cardosa de Sousa from Portugal. He was also emphasizing on the facts that neither can Innovation be planned or taught in school colleges.

  • He gave an interesting story of the roasted pig, this delicacy is quite famous in Portugal, however its innovation is quite surprising. Once there was a farmer’s house on fire when he was out and the pig of the farmer was tied to a bark of a tree, when the house caught fire the pig could not dis-engage itself and got burnt alive. When the farmer returned he heard the pig’s grunts and ran to rescue it. While doing so his finger’s hit the pig’s body which was roasted till now and while removing its noose with which it was tied his fingers mistakenly touched his mouth where he tasted the roasted pork and he said “Lovely”. So this is how the roasted pork delicacy is now a favorite dish at many places and people roast the pigs similarly to enjoy this delicacy world over!!
  • He also highlighted that in a firm we should work hard for creating leaders rather than followers. We should not have the Employees follow Management Syndrome!

The following session was a hard core techie session from Dr Achim Luhn, Director AG at Siemens Germany

  • He basically focussed on the innovation strategies deployed by Siemens in India and worldwide and how they handle such a huge task force with Innovation.
  • He sees SaaS and PaaS along with IaaS as the next big things and at Siemens they give top priority to the same.
  • Along with SaaS Green Technology in IT services initiatives are being taken by Siemens radically according to him.

The second last session was taken by Tal Givoly who is the Chief Scientist at Amdocs from the last 6 years!

  • He started his career with a start-up which was bought out and merged with Amdocs
  • Amdocs is the world’s no 1 Telecom software provider!
  • He opined that Innovation takes years!
  • He says to build ideas from all employees and to share them via a portal. He does the same at Amdocs.
  • Then they honour innovations by giving company level Innovation of the Year Awards etc.
  • He has statistics saying they have funded 20 new innovation ideas upto USD 1 Million and currently they have 3500 new ideas on the Amdocs Innovation portal.
  • He says the way to now innovate is ‘Collaborative Innovation’
  • According to him both the Product + Process Innovation is equally critical.
  • His definition of Innovation is Innovation = Idea + Net Value!

The last session was from a gentleman from Mr Sergiusz Sawin who is the Chief Innovation Architect at the the firm Innovatika. It’s a specialized consultancy firm for Innovation!

  • They provide Product Innovative strategies
  • He recommends the below books – What customers want? And also the Blue Ocean Strategy.
  • He highly recommends to take risks and innovate. He says in life there are always 2 ways to go, like ‘When the winds of change are blowing, either you can build a shelter or a Windmill’ Choice is yours!!!

The above sessions were followed by the STAR Entrepreneurship and other Awards where Innovators both young and old, start-ups and established pioneers, individuals and companies were awarded for ‘Innovation’ under the various Award heads as coined by the sponsors and Indira College of Engineering & Management.

This was followed by a gala dinner and networking! Although much is not said about this event in the media so no one is aware about this per say but till date this was one of the most well managed and well organized, thought out event I have attended in India! Well done Indira College, well done the Event Management firm FunandJoyatwork.com

As always, awaiting your comments my dear readers…….and I promise to be back soon – till then “Astalavista Baby” (haha)

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