Archive for August 9th, 2007

Unlock Innovation

Capt GR Gopinath, Executive Chairman, Deccan Aviation says

Start by taking a long, hard look at rules and behaviours inside your organisation that might be scuttling innovation in the first place. Don’t hesitate to challenge outlined assumptions. Do not restrictgopinath innovation only to the business product, work on your processes, structure, business model and even the market. Ask questions like “What if we do this differently?” or ” What if we target a different consumer base?” During the course, you can identify processes that will enable you to inch closer to your objective. Look for innovation from diverse and multiple sources. Innovation can stem from employees, partners, suppliers and also consumers, make sure that you are not ignoring any of them.

I was born in a remote village in Karnataka where my father was a school teacher. I studied in a Kannada medium school till class 7 .After graduating from the National Defence Academy I fought in the 1971 Bangladesh war and later served in the Indian Army for eight years. I knew I had to leave my sheltered army life and explore new opportunities but I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do. I took premature retirement in 1978 and with Rs 6,000 in my pocket left for my village with plans to till my ancestral land. That decision turned out to be the turning point of my life. As luck would have it, a dam built on River Hemavathy had submerged our lands in exchange for which the government allotted us 40 acres of barren land which no one in my family wanted, due to its inaccessibility. I decided to live on the land and give it a try.

With loans from family and friends I started with agriculture which proved to be a constant struggle leading to perpetual debt. I learnt about sericulture and decided to move away from the traditional techniques and adopt modern sericulture practices which are cost effective, environmentally safe and sustainable in the long run. Finally, the gamble paid off, I made profits and was able to pay off my debts. The eco friendly technique of silk farming also earned me the Rolex International Award in 1996.

While there is no recipe for success, you should keep in mind that sometimes innovation is first met with hardship. Many times there is a lot of push back. It is important to remember why you started the business in the first place. If the dream inspires you keep on fighting, if not, it is better to change course. Most importantly, learn to assimilate failure. No failure or disappointment is a closed chapter. It is an invaluable opportunity to rectify errors, and move forward.

(courtesy : The Economic Times )



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August 2007
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