Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Need for speed. Need for ambition. Need for hunger to disrupt.

Having worked closely with multinationals and Indian corporates, I couldn't help but notice the difference. I admire Indian corporates for business prowess but at the same time feel concerned about lack of hunger for radical innovation.

Innovation in Indian corporates are mostly incremental improvement efforts with an objective to enhance quarterly results. Their pursuit of business excellence and performance is commendable. However, a sole focus on this pursuit alone can lead to 'frog in slow boiling water' syndrome. Whereby Indian corporates do a good job in adapting to heating competition and business pressures, but do not show ambition to jump out and disrupt.

To illustrate, a large Indian conglomerate announced that they want to go Digital. But after meeting them, it turned out that their definition of Digital was narrow, it was limited to leveraging ecommerce in their business units. They lacked the ambition to use Digital Technologies  to disrupt their business and market.

Another case in point is automotive sector. Indian automotive companies are  rightly focused on improving products & securing sales in a competitive market. Recently we heard a news that an automotive company partnered with leading taxi aggregator service. What we do not hear, unlike in rest of the world, is Hybrid/Electric vehicles, Self driving cars/trucks, Connected system, Drones, Next Gen Mobility etc. These disruptions are bound to shift the most value adding link in entire value-chain away from traditional automotive companies, chipping away their differentiation and margins.

Indian corporates are good in responding to competitive pressures with clever tweaks on existing markets and products. Unfortunately, they are not investing on breaking the mold and taking disruptive bets. Many do not even have a defined Product Strategy to cater to both business and technology trends/shifts.

Going forward, disruptive forces will bring fundamental shifts in several industries. Value chains will change, some industries may morph and others would cease to exist. Hence, Indian corporates need to be ambitious, spearhead disruptions and make future bets.

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