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Tata Innovista 2023

In Pursuit Of Innovation

Tata InnoVista 2023 recognised the innovators that are reshaping the business landscape with their cutting-edge advancements

February 2024     |     1515 words     |     6-minute read

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Innovations centred around foundational, scientific research, sustainability and artificial intelligence (AI) dominated the 18th edition of Tata InnoVista, the group’s flagship One Tata innovation recognition programme.

The 2023 edition showcased 13,946 innovations from 38 Tata companies spread across functions, sectors and geographies. Some of these were global and industry-first innovations, products, services, processes and business models that solved problems with novel solutions. This is reflective of the culture of innovation that is deeply embedded in companies across the group and seen in the Tata group ranking as the only Indian enterprise on Boston Consultancy Group’s list of 50 Most Innovative Companies 2023.

Fostering a culture

Over 34,000 employees participated in Tata InnoVista 2023 and more than 60% were first-time participants. In fact, in the last five years the programme has had one lakh new participants, which accounts for 73% of the total participation since its inception in 2006. The increasing scale of first-time participation is reflective of a strengthening of the innovation ecosystem across Tata companies, inspiring and enabling employees to think out of the box and take calculated risks.

Participation from senior leadership also saw an increase in 2023, with 70% of the finalists being mentored by CXOs, as compared to 57% in 2022. And with 25% of finalists having external collaborations, Tata companies are bringing together a range of resources to ideate and co-create novel growth solutions. 

The success of the group-level innovation programme has motivated Tata companies to initiate their own company-level InnoVista. Over the last eight years, 14 companies have started their own programme to formalise identification of innovation projects and encourage broad-based participation.

2023 winners

Forty-eight projects made it to the final round of Tata InnoVista 2023, across seven award categories — Sustainability Impact Innovations, Most Innovative Partner, Design Honour, Piloted Technologies, Business Support Functions, Core Business Functions, and Product and Service Innovations — and one individual category (Serial Innovator). Fifteen winning teams and one Serial Innovator walked away with the coveted trophy, including a team from Tata Advanced Systems — the company participated for the first time and won. The winners were evaluated by 40 jurors, including 24 Tata and seven non-Tata business leaders and experts, and nine academicians from leading institutes.

Serial Innovator

Tata InnoVista instituted this award to recognise the perseverance of individuals in developing ideas with passion year-after-year. Padmapal from Tata Steel won the 2023 award for consistently exhibiting high-level performance. He has been a part of 35 innovation projects in the last 10 years, reaching the finals nine times and winning thrice.

Sustainability Impact Innovations

This category recognises novel projects that have benefitted either the environment, the community, or the safety of employees or those of partners. 

Quick Air-Dry Paint for Chassis Frame, Tata Motors

Propane is used to run the ovens that cure paint applied on vehicle chassis. In collaboration with external suppliers, Tata Motors developed a water-based, quick air-dry paint that does not require ovens for curing. This resulted in the reduction of Scope 1 emissions of its commercial vehicle plant through reduced propane consumption, and 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at the frame factory and 15% at the Jamshedpur plant. Over one lakh trucks with this paint are on the road.

Pellets from LD Sludge, Tata Steel

The team from the Tata Steel Meramandali plant, in collaboration with the Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, found an environment-friendly industry-first solution to recycle 3,00,000tonnes of hazardous LD sludge waste by converting it into pellets that are fed into the blast furnace to make steel. These pellets have increased solid waste utilisation to 100%, reduced emission of 35kg of CO2 per tonne of pellets and improved efficiency of the blast furnace.

Water-based Internal Coating for Contiflo, Tata Steel Netherlands

The team developed a unique solution to replace oil-based paint with water-based paint for Contiflo, its galvanised precision tubes. It also developed an innovative painting system to ensure that the new paint would still produce a uniform coating thickness. This solution mitigates the health concerns of employees by eliminating hazardous paint fumes.

Most Innovative Partner

This category not only recognises the most impactful innovations developed by partners for Tata companies, but also encourages companies to take their partnerships deeper and wider.

Automated Lacquering System for Watch Hands, KDDL (partner of Titan)

Titan had a requirement to produce watches with a wide range of coloured hands. KDDL found a way to automate the slow, manual manufacturing process, reducing the time needed to manufacture each watch hand from two days to 15min. This resulted in increased productivity of this watch part from 35,000 pieces to 80,000 pieces per month and increased colour possibilities from 1,600 to 4,300+.

Design Honour

This category recognises designs that have created differentiated and more human-centred products, services, processes and experiences.

Automated Film Loading and Stacking System, Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE)

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) radiographs missile components using industrial X-rays with radiation that is 1,000x more than regular medical X-rays. TCE’s solution eliminated DRDO staff’s exposure to radiation and reduced testing time and effort by 80%.

Zoya Baoli Setting, Titan

Tanishq, the jewellery division of Titan, created a signature all-diamond jewellery collection inspired by the unique geometry of baolis, the historic Indian stepwells. The collection interprets the faultless symmetry of the baolis, transforming a forgotten architectural gem into light, everyday pieces.

Piloted Technologies

The Tata group filed 1,500+ patents in 2022. This category recognises global/industry-first patented technologies that have been piloted but haven’t been commercialised yet.

Digital Twin of a Chromatography Process, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Chromatography is an essential process in medicine manufacturing. TCS collaborated with IIT-Delhi and combined physics, data analytics and machine learning to optimise the process. The result was a first-of-its-kind digital twin that reduces process cycle time by 70% and cost by 30%. The innovation has six patents and won the 2023 Aegis Graham Bell Award.

Needle Coke for Electrodes from Coal Tar, Tata Steel

Needle coke, made from prime coking coal, is used in the electrodes of batteries. India imports 100% of its needle coke for making graphite electrodes and lithium-ion batteries. The Tata Steel team developed a technology to manufacture needle coke at lower cost using its own by-product, giving the company the opportunity to create a new business.

Biobased Surfactant: A Green Alternative to LABSA, Tata Chemicals 

Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulfonic Acid (LABSA) is a key ingredient in detergents. It is made from petroleum products, is not biodegradable and has a high carbon footprint. The Tata Chemicals team developed a novel process to create its replacement by using naturally available oil found in cashew nutshell liquid.

Business Support Innovations

Carbon Lite, Tata Steel UK and Tata Steel Netherlands

Tata Steel’s B2B customers seek solutions to help them in their journey to net zero. The teams collaborated to develop a certificate-based solution that offers customers the ability to purchase steel with reduced CO2 intensity and move closer to their Scope 3 emission reduction goals. The revenue earned is reinvested in carbon insetting projects to further mitigate Tata Steel’s CO2 emissions.

Core Business Innovations

Global First Method to Unlock the Potential of Low-grade Iron Ore, Tata Steel

Steel production requires high-grade iron ore, which is scarce and expensive. Low-grade iron ore is more abundant, but is detrimental to the process and increases the cost of production. The team developed a patented process to remove impurities from low-grade iron ore by making use of a readily available mineral that had never been used in steelmaking.

Paint-free Plastic Vehicle Parts, Tata Motors and Tata AutoComp Systems

The painting of the plastic vehicle parts is CapEx and OpEx intensive. It also emits harmful chemicals. Additionally, painted parts are difficult to recycle. The team from the two companies developed industry-first natural fibre and bio-based resins to make paint-free plastic vehicle parts without compromising on form, function or aesthetics.

Smart Sintering, Tata Steel

Irregular sinter size, a raw material in the steelmaking process, has an adverse impact on blast furnace productivity, stability and environmental performance. The Tata Steel team developed an AI solution to measure this irregular-shaped, fast-moving hot sinter and provide real-time feedback to the operator to make the necessary changes. This solved a problem that has existed in the industry for decades.

Product and Service Innovations

This category recognises projects that stand out due to their perceived value for the customer and economic value for the business.

Advanced Loitering System (ALS) for Precision Strikes, Tata Advanced Systems

The Tata Advanced Systems team developed the ALS-50, a vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle. This innovation has the capability to serve as an alternative to artillery, guided weapons and manned fighter aircraft, minimising collateral damage.  

TCS RevenuePrime, TCS

FMCG companies find it difficult to optimise the 3Ps of marketing — pricing, promotion and product mix — in their endeavour to increase revenue and profit. The TCS team developed patented deep learning algorithms to optimise the 3Ps, forecast sales and deliver insights to customers for decision making. 

—Arushi Agrawal  

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