Finding a Higher Gear.
By: Stewart, Thomas A., Raman, Anand P.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jul-Aug 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 7/8
The HBR Interview with Anand G. Mahindra
The CEO of India's Mahindra & Mahindra is transforming the group from national champion to global corporation in an unconventional way
What are the key success factors for fostering innovation at M&M?
[HBS professor] Stefan Thomke helped us get a head start.
At the last Blue Chip conference, in Kuala Lumpur, we came up with five elements that would foster innovation in the group.
One, innovation has to start with insights about the customer. Without identifying a need, you can't come up with new products or processes.
Two, great products today have great designs. Look at Apple's iPhone, for instance, which is my favorite product.
Three, you have to encourage experimentation. You must hire people who don't listen to you, which I always seem to do! You have to create a sandbox where people can play -- and fail, often and early. The organization must celebrate failure.
Four, unlike Xerox PARC's inventions, innovations must add value to the company's bottom line.
Five, you need to have a sales plan. No innovation sells itself; companies have to find ways of packaging and marketing it.
So you need insight, design, experimentation, added value, and sales plans for innovation, and -- I love using acronyms -- the first letters of those elements spell IDEAS. That captures the essence of what M&M will do to create a culture of innovation.