Some ideas click, and some do not. At the Tata Group, however, a working failure framework is laid out, one that encourages employees to take the leap of faith, and awards them for their lack of success.

The Tata Group Innovation Forum realised that the way to encourage innovation was to create legends and stories around it, make heroes out of people who had dared to do things differently. The forum has conceptualised group-level initiatives to encourage innovation in Tata companies, and awards not just creative ideas, but also those that fail to get past the winning post.

“Tata Innovista is a programme held annually by the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) to encourage, recognise and showcase outstanding innovations done by Tata companies across the globe. This year, the event received over 1,700 entries from some 56 Tata companies,” said an official.

Mukund Rajan, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons said, “The trends observed in the 2014 edition signify a growing culture of innovation in the Group with elements of frugality, customer delight, service innovation and collaboration. We have observed that almost 70 per cent of the participants are in the age brackets of 20-30 and 30-40 years.”

Awards were given under four categories: Promising Innovations; The leading edge - Proven Technologies; Dare To Try; and Design Honour. The latter is a new category introduced this year to increase the focus of Tata companies on design. It is the ‘Dare To Try’ category, however, that took pride at this year’s event, receiving 176 entries. As the Tata Group official pointed out, “The category recognises and rewards novel, daring and seriously attempted ideas that did not achieve the desired results.'”

This year, the award went to Tata Steel, Jaguar Land Rover (for a failed attempt of an optical glass core heater) and Tata Chemicals, all honouring failed attempts.

Ideas that work What did work, however, for the Group was the Jaguar Project 7 Concept Car. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) had forayed into a fully automated sports car named Jaguar Project 7. The convertible sports car includes a fairing behind the drivers’ head, carbon fibre components, lowered windshield and racing-car-like interiors.

The project went from the drawing board to track testing in just four months, and bagged the Design Honour award this year. The award, introduced this year, recognises design projects that have touched customers.

Watch major Titan bagged top honours for its ‘Edge Skeletal 02’. Titan had introduced the Titan Edge watch in 2002, touted as the slimmest watch in the world. The company noticed a big trend over the last few years, an increase in watch sizes.

However, the size of the watch mechanism could not be increased due to technical reasons posing a design challenge. To address the issue, Titan changed the case material to titanium and provided a more contemporary dial.