Innovation And Industry 4.0

The Wiley Global Innovation Conclave, 2019 kick started with a keynote address by Ajay Nanavati, Chairman, Syndicate Bank, and retired-MD, 3M India and MD, 3M Israel.

He started off the note with one of his favorite quotes, “ In a world of commoditized knowledge, the returns go to companies who can produce non-standard knowledge.”

In India, the education system is very much learning by rote. His first tryst with the new world where knowledge is a commodity was when he attended Virginia Tech for Chemical Engineering and he took his exams in the open book and take home format.

Mr. Nanavati went on to explain how the pace of acceleration of technology could change disruption citing the example of how the Top 30 DOW companies mainly consist mostly of industrial manufacturing ones and further proving how the death of this industry has been greatly exaggerated. From the 30 DOW companies that existed in the 1976 index, only 4 remain today. The average lifespan of a company is almost down to 10-12 years. He strongly believes Only The Paranoid Will Survive.


Answering this, he said ‘It’s all about innovation.’ Further adding that agility, adaptability and the ability to keep up with the world are the drivers of survival.

Defining Innovation, it is the practical application and use of creativity and it is everyone’s business. Research is the transformation of money into knowledge and Innovation is the transformation of knowledge into money. It really is a business strategy and needs to be embedded in one’s day to day approach. It is not about throwing more money about it; tangible data shows that there is very less correlation between research spending and innovation. It’s only an enabler.

In the most innovative countries index; Sweden and Switzerland are right up there. The benefits of this go beyond innovation (competitive, least corrupt, most entrepreneurial and are the happiest). He says, “Innovation is a winning strategy.”. Innovation is not a Eureka moment; it is an ongoing thing, Innovation is not jugaad.

How do they make this happen at 3M? All 3M keeps in mind are 3 factors

a. Corporate Culture

b. Technology is the backbone; they are reinventing continuously

c. Global networking resulting in the seamless sharing of knowledge globally

He ended his Keynote with how Agility is going to be the new normal. Staying agile is absolutely essential. Serendipity triumphs strategy. Being at the right place at the right time is all that it is about.

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