Business Today

Innovation = Idea + Execution

It is diligent execution that transforms an innovative idea into a commercial success
Print Edition: May 25, 2014
Innovation = Idea + Execution

Genius is one per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration." These words of General Electric co-founder Thomas Alva Edison apply as much to innovation as to any other human activity. Too many companies and even more executives still equate innovation with breakthrough ideas and deploy large amounts of resources in unearthing them. They do not realise that equally important is execution - converting the idea into a marketplace success - and often falter at this stage. "The real innovation challenge lies beyond the idea. It lies in a long, hard journey - from imagination to impact," says Vijay Govindarajan, innovation guru and Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck School of Business.

Business Today's Innovation Special this year looks at the execution challenge. We bring you four innovation success stories which underline the importance of getting the execution right - T-20, Tata Ace, Narayana Health and Bajaj Auto's DTS-i technology. The fifth example is that of Tata DoCoMo's "one paisa per second" tariff, which had a mixed impact on the telecom sector. While it was instrumental in increasing cell-phone penetration, it also caused revenue losses from which the sector is yet to recover. All five instances provide valuable lessons on how to execute. Like any out-of-the-box effort, there are myths that surround innovation and its execution. We highlight and debunk 10 most common. We round off the package with a seminal Harvard Business Review analysis  of how the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - which brought the world the Internet, global positioning satellites, stealth technology and drones - handles innovation.

This year our innovation special extends beyond the magazine and a large body of work is available online at We'd love to hear from you. Email us at or share your thoughts on our Twitter handle, @BT_India with the #BTInnovate hashtag.

 Innovation success stories that got the right execution

IPL | Tata AceNarayana Health | Bajaj Auto's DTS-i technology | Tata DoCoMo's "one paisa per second" tariff

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