Innovation Pays Off

23 Aug, 2013 16:59 IST

Innovation Pays Off

Companies that dared to think out of the box and made smart moves to overcome hurdles have come up tops in the respect sweepstakes

Rajeev Dubey


Ask any challenger about the toil it takes to dislodge a leader. Especially one that has been at the top in successive most respected companies (MRC) surveys for over a decade.

Ask TCS, India’s largest IT services firm and No. 3 in the previous survey, which has beaten Infosys —BW’s MRC winner since 2001 — to top the overall list for the first time ever. TCS’s ascent was equally aided by Infosys’s descent as it struggled with growth and took a knock in perception, slipping to No. 3 this year. But Infosys did continue to lead the sectoral rankings by a  slender margin.

As always, the 1,284 senior executives surveyed this year have attached special significance to innovativeness, the key parameter that mostly swings the fortunes of the winners and the losers. Global competitiveness and quality and depth of talent are the other two key parameters. Interestingly, ‘financial performance’ gets lower priority from the peer group in the surveys.

On innovativeness, TCS is leagues ahead. It filed for 425 patents during fiscal 2012-13 and managed a smooth vertical-based organisational restructuring that is now an industry benchmark.

The one company this peer perception survey has rewarded handsomely for its constant innovations is Samsung India Electronics, which makes its maiden appearance in the Top 10 of the overall MRC list on the strength of its showing in the mobile phones business. It is giving arch-rival and until recently the world’s biggest cellphone maker, Nokia, a run for its money in the domestic as well as international markets.

Over the past three-four years, Samsung has ridden on the success of Google’s Android operating system — and vice-versa — and a flurry of new launches across price points to overtake Nokia in the smartphone sweepstakes.

The other company that has benefited greatly in MRC 2013, thanks to its innovativeness, is TataSky which beat Home Shop18 and Delhi International Airport to lead the Emerging Companies category. TataSky has led India’s direct-to-home (DTH) revolution with first-to-launch initiatives such as telecast of high-definition content and video-on-demand.

It was also the earliest to experiment with a marriage of social media and DTH wherein an innovative device lets a consumer use his smartphone as his TataSky remote and also post directly on social media through the TataSky app.

And then there is the mammoth Reliance Industries — back at No. 2 after being relegated to No. 5 in the previous survey. Reliance may be struggling to retain its profitability and growth momentum in the wake of the loss of output in its Krishna-Godavari gas fields and the cash-guzzling retail business, but the peer group has taken note of its strategic $5.7 billion investment in three shale gas projects in the US with Chevron, Pioneer and Carrizo in 2010.

Clearly, in MRC 2013, all’s well for those who innovate well.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 09-09-2013)

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