Innovation at the RPG Group has become a way of life, embedded in the mindsets of RPGians and guiding them through their work. After years of dedicated efforts in building an innovative culture, we can now say with confidence that the Group’s innovation architecture truly permeates its diverse companies, functions, and processes.
One of the biggest catalysts for this change has been the Innovation Festival that is held every year. The first three seasons of the Festival were designed to unleash talent from all corners of the Group’s companies and locations, and to provide a platform that would recognise and advance innovation across products, processes, and business models. Indeed, the past editions of the Festival have spawned several successful ground-breaking ideas such as CEAT’s puncture-safe tyres, KEC’s autonomous monitoring systems, and RPG Life Sciences’ doctor-engagement portal. The success of these events has been instrumental in seeding the ground for the fourth season of RPG’s flagship festival.
Here, the business leaders who have been entrusted with driving the innovation agenda at the Group — Rajat Bhargava, CEO - Speciality Sector & Head - Group Transformation; and Samip Mutha, Head - Digital & Innovation — share with us the story of its evolution and how they successfully established this property as an exciting new source of cutting-edge ideas for the Group.
Over the years, the Innovation Festival has regularly contributed to the churning of ideas from RPGians across our companies and locations. However, both Rajat and Samip felt the need for a greater thrust to make innovation ingrained within the Group.
It was now imperative to create a system that would attract solutions by leveraging the knowledge and resourcefulness of both internal and external stakeholders, in ways that go beyond business-as-usual.
The idea was to look for a solution that is perennial and promotes collaboration and cross-functional operations. This thinking led to the creation of RPG Click, a platform where business challenges meet solutions devised from unconventional sources and ways.
Samip explains, “The biggest barrier for innovation is breaking the walls of functions, departments, companies, or geographies to reach out to people outside your mental boundaries. Our mindsets are confined within the walls of our work ethics, education, and departments, so it helps immensely to seek out solutions from people sitting on the other side. They bring in a different perspective, and help design solutions in their unique way. This collaboration helps the former open up their minds to unconventional and unexplored possibilities.”
In the first year itself, about 15% of employees participated in this exercise, while almost 60% of the winning ideas came from the companies that were not floating the challenge.
The early success of Click set in motion a new trajectory for designing innovation solutions – using the collective wisdom of people to solve specific and critical business problems. “In the first year itself, about 15% of employees participated in this exercise, while almost 60% of the winning ideas came from the companies that were not floating the challenge,” Rajat explains.
With Click, we have successfully brought down barriers to collaboration.
Click brought RPGians together on one platform, and the enthusiasm of the participants is proof of their commitment to go beyond a business-as-usual work ethic. “With Click, we have successfully brought down barriers to collaboration. When you combine this with the annual flagship festival, we see RPG’s innovation being now driven at scale, and by design. I am excited to look forward as we build and expand Click’s journey this year,” Samip explains.
SEASON 4: UNLOCKING INNOVATION 2.0
This year, the venue was an exotic virtual island with the Top 30 Showcase presented as the centre of attraction. Visitors could connect with innovators through a live interactive feature. The categories of innovation spanned business excellence, social equity, sustainability, and even failed projects that had the potential to be re-worked upon.
The event commenced with a speech by Rajat Bhargava, followed by a keynote session by Ankit Agarwal, Founder of Phool.co, a company that recycles waste generated from temples into beautiful sustainable products.
The virtual island had thoughtfully curated zones that could be explored by clicking on the red colured, eye-catching hotspots. A wall of testimonials that displayed encouraging words by visitors had over 1,000 messages from across the Group. The zones also included a gaming area, a merchandise store, and a photo booth with vibrant frame options.
The virtual festival this year saw a huge facelift in terms of delivering an immersive experience of the Top 30 projects selected for the year, while keeping it fun with options for entertainment.
A points system based on exploring, visiting, and engaging with the zones could be monitored by the organising team in the Leaderboard section, and the points earned were redeemable at the online merchandise store for gifts.
“The virtual festival this year saw a huge facelift in terms of delivering an immersive experience of the Top 30 projects selected for the year, while keeping it fun with options for entertainment,” says Samip.
The festival received a record-breaking number of entries that was more than twice of last year, with participation from around 1,800 RPGians. While Click played the catalyst to drive traffic for the annual festival, other elements such as gamification, a photobooth, a merchandise store, and a points system helped increase the overall engagement levels.
“I feel excited by the possibilities that the ideas showcased at the festival have opened up. The writing is on the ‘virtual’ wall – RPGians enjoyed their day spent on the ‘Innovation Island’,” says Rajat.
As the changing times have amply shown, innovation isn’t only about staying relevant, anymore. In the last five months, over 3,000 RPGians globally have actively contributed to innovation within the Group to stretch the limits of what we can do, and must do to go beyond the conventional boundaries of growth.
Going forward, we intend to scale up our engagement with external stakeholders to push the innovation quotient even further – be it startups or freelance experts.
“In its fourth season, the Innovation Festival has become an aspirational platform for all RPGians to participate, showcase and witness ideas all under one roof. It’s the biggest opportunity for every RPGian to learn from friends, peers, colleagues, and generate new ideas and the motivation to innovate,” Samip explains.
Rajat sums it up by saying: “Going forward, we intend to scale up our engagement with external stakeholders to push the innovation quotient even further – be it start-ups or freelance experts.”
The event concluded with an awards ceremony, where the winners of the mega festival were announced. It was a day to remember and cherish for all, and yet another eye-opener to the potentials each one of us has to rise and shine.