Tuesday, August 05, 2014

“Not a Kodak moment: Innovation has to be pervasive” - Ashok Soota

Ashok Soota
“Innovation is a lifetime survival strategy. If you are not adopting the latest disruptive technologies, you will be disrupted”, said Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman of Happiest Minds.

Speaking about ‘Innovation as a key business differentiator’ at the launch of the international book BEST OF Bangalore Vol. 2 Innovation Edition, Soota asserted that innovation was not just marketing or product strategy.

Nobody would know better: He worked in the manufacturing industry before leading the growth of Wipro’s IT business from a run rate of $2 million to $500 million. He then co-founded MindTree and led it to a run rate of $350 million, before starting Happiest Minds which is on course to becoming the fastest Indian IT services company to achieve $100 million in revenue. Soota is also an industry leader; he was President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and also President of Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology. He has served on the Prime Minister's Task Force for IT and on the Advisory Council for the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva.
According to Soota, “The only reason why, in a city of mushrooming IT companies, Happiest Minds has been successful is because of innovation”.

To underline the pitfalls of lagging behind, he cited the example of Kodak. Though the company pioneered digital cameras, the new technology was a one-off development for Kodak which did not follow through on innovative thinking. Eventually, the company stagnated due to the inability to ‘catch the next wave’. Similarly, Nokia that had led the mobile phone market, completely missed the smartphone wave and is now playing catch-up, he said.

Soota talked about the two main types of innovation – Technology Innovation and Market Innovation. The former is about adopting the latest design and architecture while the latter is about mobilising data and services through the use of disruptive communication and storage media like Cloud and Social Analytics. “It is a pervasive process and must become part of the company’s philosophy,” he said.

He wrapped up his speech on a high note, reminding the audience that Bangalore is one the top 5 entrepreneurial hubs in the world. “There is always a sense of adventure and courage to the businesses founded in this city and that is going to be the key differentiator in the times to come”, he said.

For more on disruptive technologies powered by Happiest Minds, read Connecting happiness in the BEST OF Bangalore Vol. 2 Innovation Edition: available in leading book stores. To buy the book online CLICK HERE

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