April 2011 | tata.com

A culture of creativity

Tata Innovista, the annual awards programme that recognises innovation in Tata companies, is being held on April 26, 2011 in Mumbai, in memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the genius mathematician who symbolised the spirit of innovative thinking

Innovation thrives in an environment where the creative spark is recognised and nurtured. In 2006, the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) started the process of celebrating innovations in Tata companies through an initiative called Tata Innovista. The objectives of this programme were to encourage innovators and innovation in Tata companies, share the levers used by them to identify and execute innovation projects, and to create a culture of risk taking.

What makes Tata Innovista unique is that it recognises and rewards innovative thinking in itself, even those ideas that are not operationally successful, in order to encourage a culture of ‘risk taking’, through a special category of awards, appropriately called ‘Dare to Try’.

The other two categories of Innovista awards are Promising Innovation given to ideas that have been successfully implemented in the recent past, and have accrued benefits to the business; and Leading Edge, for promising business ideas for the future.

In the five years since its inception, Tata Innovista has gained in popularity, and seen a quantum jump in the number of entries. In 2006, 101 teams from 35 companies participated for the award of Promising Innovation. In 2008, these numbers went up to 300 teams from 47 companies. In 2010, this number jumped a further eight times: in all, 2,618 teams from around 70 Tata companies vied for the most coveted innovation awards. And this year, a phenomenal 3,200 teams from 80 companies from 11 countries – India, China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, the UK and the US – have participated enthusiastically in the competition.

Tata Innovista has, in fact, become a great indicator of the success of the innovation drive in the Tata group — and of the inherent capabilities of its people.

A beautiful mind

Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan (December 22, 1887 – April 26, 1920) was a mathematician who, with almost no formal training in the subject, made a sterling contribution to knowledge. GH Hardy, the well known English mathematician, placed Ramanujan in the same league as legendary mathematicians such as Newton and Archimedes.

Born in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India, Ramanujan’s genius became evident at an early age. Recognising the brilliance of his work, Mr Hardy invited him to visit and work with him at Cambridge. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

During his short lifetime — he died at the age of 32 — Ramanujan did seminal work which to this day continues to inspire innovative thinking and research.

Tata Innovista 2011 is dedicated to this beautiful mind.

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