Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Tata Sons' annual Innovista programme sees 110% growth in two years

The group invests $2.5-$2.8 billion annually for innovation, says Group CTO Dr Gopichand Katragadda

Shruti Venkatesh
Published: May 11, 2017 04:33:33 PM IST
Updated: May 11, 2017 05:24:13 PM IST

Tata Sons' annual Innovista programme sees 110% growth in two yearsPrakash Singh, Chief Capability & Development, Tata Steel, Gopichand Katragadda, Group Chief Technology Officer, Tata Sons, with SK Suman, Chief, (Design and Engineering - Product) - TSK and TGS, Ms. Manisha Wadhwa, Head of Group, SCG, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, at the Innovation and Technology@Tata

Innovation today is recognised as the route to economic growth, and Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, has already made strong strides in this direction.

This year, Innovista, the multi-stage, multi-country group-wide innovation programme held by Tata Innovation Forum (TIF), saw 3,300 implemented innovations, representing a growth of 110 percent in two years. A significant number of these innovations incorporate digital technologies, especially in the areas of industrial automation, customer experience enhancement and advanced engineering simulations, the Tata group said at a press conference on Thursday in Mumbai.

“The group spends 2.5 to 2.8 percent of their total revenues in innovation annually. This translates to $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion,” says Dr Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology officer.

Each year, the Innovista programme announces about ten winners. On an annual basis, the projects which have been showcased at Innovista give the group revenues to the tune of $1 billion, says Katragadda. He added that the group has continued to lead in intellectual property generation from Artificial Intelligence to microbiomics and from driver assist technologies to new 2D materials.

Ask him how the innovations can be monetised and he says, “The way we look at monetising these is either by licensing the technology or having a business launch. We are open to both approaches. As the technology gets field-tested, we will decide.”

Katragadda says the key focus areas for innovation going forward would be digital and the benefits of digital to the customer. “We have to take digital beyond where we are today. Companies which succeed will not just succeed because they have digital technologies, but because they have either access or have created data which can provide insights into new business models,” he says. That apart, the intersection of biology, computing and materials and new materials will be among the key focus areas. “So companies like Tata Steel need to be looking at themselves as a materials company, and that’s how they are positioning themselves, rather than a steel company alone,” he explains.

The group publishes 2,000 patents a year, and currently has 8,000 published patents.