‘Innovations need a mindset that is okay with failures’

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 04, 2019 Published on September 04, 2019

Harsh C Mariwala (left), Chairman, Marico Ltd, and CK Ranganathan, CMD, Cavinkare , at the Cavinkare-MMA Chinnikrishnan Innovation Awards 2019, in Chennai on Wednesday   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Organisations with an open culture and diverse and self-motivated people can only drive innovation, said Harsh C Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd.

He was delivering his address as the chief guest at the 8th edition of Chinnikrishnan Innovation Awards here on Wednesday.

“To drive innovation as a culture, you need people who are diverse and self-motivated and organisations that have an open culture and a mindset for experimentation,” he said.

Stating that innovation will not happen in R&D labs, Mariwala said innovations need a mindset that is okay to failures since innovation involves various accreditations, changes and developments before a product can be developed into a viable prototype.

“But if an organisation punishes a person for a failure arising out of an intelligent experimentation, then innovation cannot happen,” he added.

He also mentioned how Marico’s foray into the snacks segment had turned a failure since the consumer preferred taste to health when it comes to snacks and the company had failed to read this preference.

“But we used that learning when we created our oats products and created flavours specific to South and North Indian consumers and we have around 70 per cent market share in that category,” Mariwala said.


‘Great Ideas’, a new category of award introduced this year, was bagged by Rekindle Automation for developing smart intra-venous dripper, while three awards under the ‘innovation’ category went to Eden Nursery Gardens, Bliss Natural, and Heaven on Oceans.

The annual event, organised by FMCG major CavinKare in association with the Madras Management Association, is aimed at encouraging businessmen/businesswomen running small and tiny scale industries.

The award is named after the late innovator and entrepreneur, Chinnikrishnan, who pioneered the concept of sachet in India. The Innovation Awards focus on the overall value of an innovation in terms of uniqueness, its benefits to people and its ability to be scalable.

“My father (Chinnikrishnan) was way ahead of his time in introducing the concept of sachets in 1972. People who ridiculed him then as a wealth destroyer didn’t realise that he has created wealth by providing employment opportunity to many,” said CK Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, CavinKare.

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Published on September 04, 2019
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