MUMBAI: For the Tata Group, innovation will be a critical area in the time to come. With the formation of the Tata Group Innovation Forum in 2007, the objective has been to create an innovative environment, which will get companies to achieve their innovation capability. TGIF was put in place with the idea of fostering innovation in the group companies.
R Gopalakrishnan, executive director of the group’s main investment company Tata Sons, told a press conference in Mumbai that the group, in the last 20 years, has ridden the waves of change.
"Between 1991 and 2001, we had the Tata Business Excellence Model, which encompassed 70 companies. From 2001, which was the second phase, the focus was on international capabilities," he said.
In a report put out by Tata Management Training Center (TMTC), the in-house training center for the group, titled "Innovation and Innovativeness," the case of the Nano has been outlined in the product innovation segment. Stating that the Nano was a technological breakthrough that was a paradigm shift in the automobile industry, the report maintains that the Nano is not just a car for Tata Motors, but also a platform to create more high-end models. "Tata Motors also has plans to use the Nano platform to build electric and hybrid cars," added the report.
From TGIF's perspective at the time of its inception, the mandate was plan and roll out meaningful group level initiatives that would help the group companies on their innovation journey. "Innovation should be natural to the way a company works," said Mr Gopalakrishnan.
As far as measuring innovation goes, the group employs a tool called Innometer, which looks at areas, such as innovation process and innovation culture. Last year, Innometer studies were conducted in some Tata group companies, such as Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals and Rallis.