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Is everything new innovation? Is every innovation a success? Is every successful innovation also a good business proposition? Answers to these questions separate Business Today's approach to innovation from those of others.

Rohit Saran | Print Edition: May 30, 2010

Is everything new innovation? Is every innovation a success? Is every successful innovation also a good business proposition? Answers to these questions separate Business Today's approach to innovation from those of others. Innovation for us is not just about coming out with a new product which would soon be copied by a competitor. As Joseph Schumpeter, the giant among 20th century economic thinkers, once said: "Imitators fly on the wings of innovators".

For companies to benefit from-and therefore willing to invest in-innovation, it has to deliver a long-term business success. What kind of innovation can ensure this and how do you inculcate such innovation in your organisation? To understand this, we partnered with Monitor, a strategy consulting firm that has done pioneering work in business innovation.

What followed was a three-month process of engagement and understanding that made us aware of the true meaning of successful business innovation. We also saw how it is being practised by select companies and organisations across sectors-including (though not by design) at India's largest public welfare scheme. There are many companies doing breakthrough innovation, but we chose to profile just eight to illustrate our point.

The largest portion of this special issue is devoted to this BT-Monitor study. We also extended our research and reporting to explore other facets of innovation in India. We discovered several: Innovations conceived abroad exclusively for Indian situations, innovations at the grassroots and by the grassroots, and what is called reverse innovation. This special issue should help you separate the myths on innovation from its reality and guide you to follow it in your organisation as a fact of modern-day business, and not simply as a current fad.

Exactly two years ago Malvinder Singh sold a great Indian brand, Ranbaxy, to Daiichi Sankyo for about Rs 10,000 crore, evoking awe and regrets from India Inc. Now he and brother Shivinder have resolved to build two global brands out of India.

Read the 'hows' and the 'ifs' of their strategy on page 110. Is it possible to have the world's entire energy needs fulfiled only by renewable sources, and that too as soon as in the next two decades? Read about that on page 118. We don't know of many computer users who do not use Microsoft Office. As this software suite is reborn in its 2010 version, on page 130 we give you a peek into all that's new in it.

P.S.: As we were sending this issue to the press, the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment (or should we say non-judgment?) on the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers. Even the highest court of the land-with the Government of India as a petitioner-hasn't been able to resolve the dispute. As in the past, we will monitor the case and will soon offer you distinct coverage.

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