The inaugaral edition of India Innovation Forum (IIF 2015) in Bengaluru saw top Innovators, Entrepreneurs, VCs, Impact Investors, CEOs and Thought leaders come together on 11th and 12th of July, 2015 to interact, share ideas and raise important questions on Innovation ecosystem in India. They interacted with a diverse group 150+ select senior executives from top Indian and multinational companies.
IIF, organized by Northwest (www.northwest.in) is an unique event supported by executive education arms of top global business schools including UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management and Yale School of Management. It is envisioned to grow as a platform to create an active dialogue on innovation and engage like minded people and organizations. It looks to bring together individuals who are at the forefront of working on innovation across industries and functions.
Delivering the opening keynote Rahul Panicker, co-founder, Embrace Innovations shared the touching story of their journey and how they have saved the lives of more than 200,000 new born babies across 10 countries, with their innovation of a low-cost incubator. He said “While innovating to make a big impact, don’t expect the gratitude of world”. He encouraged innovators to be courageous enough to make new mistakes and be careful about adding only the very best to the team.
The startup panel saw participation from Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder, Ixigo; Pratyush Prasanna, Co-founder, MagicTiger; Peeyush Rai, Co-founder, Canvera and Vikas Malpani, Co-founder, Commonfloor; moderated by Kanupriya Sindhu from Canvera. They discussed innovation in context of challenges that indian startups face and the culture around it. They urged the budding entrepreneurs to innovate by staying focused on customer painpoint, being almost paranoid about losing the innovative edge and establishing an open culture that accepts new mistakes.
Adressing the delegates, Ravi Gururaj, Chair – Product Council, NASSCOM said “Two tenets of success at startups that large companies can pick are that Purpose drives plans and pace trumps perfection. Startups can learn to think autonomic and imbibe modular thinking from large companies”. He also built a strong case for factors which will ensure that we continue to live in a world of business that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguos (VUCA world).
The Venture Capital panel saw a very candid discussion with Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital; Rahul Chowdhri, Partner, Helion Ventures; Rohit Jain, Principal, SAIF Partners and Anand Daniel, Partner, Accel Partners; moderated by Tamhant Jain, Co-founder, Northwest. On the topic of “20 something college dropout founders”, they reflected that such entrepeneurs are better fit for areas (E.g.: mobile apps) which need a deeper connect with young demographics while there are domains such as enterprise software and analytics which need deep domain expertise and wider business experience typically found in older entrepreneurs. One of the biggest challenges they see in current environment is well funded companies fighting it out in market with aggressive spending leaving little margin for efficiency and sustainability improvements and leaving no choice for other players but to match up the spending.
Vijay Anand, VP & Managing Director, Intuit India said “Design Thinking has to get embedded in the organization enabling every employee to innovate. The purpose has to be to design for customer delight and exceed expectations not with features but with deep customer empathy.” His team from Intuit, led by Apparna Ramadoss, GM and Innovation Catalyst, got people deeply involved in the “Design Awesome” workshop.
Impact investment panel saw partcipation from top proponents of impact investing in India including Somak Ghosh, Managing Partner, Contrarian Capital India Partners; Naga Prakasam, Partner, Acumen Fund; Satyam Darmora, Director, Family Economic Stability, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation; Kartik Srivatsa, Managing Partner, Aspada and chaired by Ganesh Rengaswamy, Managing Director, Frontier Investments Group, Accion. They emphasised that innovation for large social impact is scalable and can be profitable rather than being charity. They highlighted the need to focus on large outcomes and investing in high quality motivated talent for this sector.
In his closing keynote for IIF 2015, Ajay Bakshi, Managing Director & CEO, Manipal Hospitals highlighted the neural basis of creativity and innovation. He also highlighted the need and opportunities to innovate in healthcare domain and invited people to contribute actively to improving the lives of people at large.
The delegates comprised of senior leadership in organizations such American Express, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, GE, Texas Instrument, Dell, Oracle, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Group, Infosys, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, Government of India, Airtel, DLF, NEC, L&T, Wipro, Schneider, and several other renowned companies and entrepreneurs.
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Industry leaders (left to right) Vijay Anand, VP & Managing Director, Intuit India ; Ravi Gururaj, Chair – Product Council, NASSCOM and Ajay Bakshi, Managing Director & CEO, Manipal Hospitals speaking to delegates at INDIA INNOVATION FORUM 2015 organized by Northwest Executive Education (http://northwest.in)