Cover Story

  • The Business Today–monitor group innovation study set out to examine the state of firm-level innovation in India and profile the “most innovative companies” in select sectors.
  • The most innovative companies don't do different things, they just do things differently. And that seems to make all the difference.
  • Barriers to innovation remain, but the most innovative companies have realised that "innovation" is not just about developing new products and services but, more fundamentally, about discovering new ways to create value. A Business Today-Monitor Group study profiles the most innovative Indian firms.
  • Beacause it is so hard to manage, innovation comes with more than its fair share of myths. Companies must break free of such misconceptions if they are to become strategic innovators.
Apr 20, 2008
Editors note From the editor

From the editor

Look at some of the most successful corporations around the world, and you'll find one thing that's common to them: they are innovative. To find out the state of innovation in India, Business Today tied up with the Monitor Group. The results of our study are fascinating.
Trends The BT 50 index

The BT 50 index

The BT 50 index 

The connectivity wars

The WiMax and HSPA systems are slugging it out in India. The goal: to become the wireless standard for data carriage. What are they? And what do they have for you?

Numbers of note

Rs 52,000 crore: The amount spent every year by about 450,000 Indian students on higher education abroad


Not much has been heard of the $5-billion Blackstone-Citi infrastructure fund that IDFC was to manage in recent times. The two foreign partners, in any case, are struggling with their global credit woes.

It's just so odd

The air-conditioner market is witnessing an explosion of style and, with it, some new “odd” capacities are being unleashed.

Your SMS bill is a rip-off

It’s a rip-off. Mobile phone operators are making a killing on each SMS you send. The Re 1 that you pay for the standard 160-character message is way too expensive.

Why IT firms love doctors?

Indian IT and BPO companies are stepping up their focus on newer markets, and many of them have identified healthcare and life sciences as key growth drivers.

Who'll shoot you first?

An increase in the prices of consumer durables is imminent, but companies are unwilling to make the first move.

A retail boost to mutual funds

The Indian Mutual Fund (MF) industry is expected to witness explosive growth over the next five years. A study by McKinsey & Company projects the MF industry’s assets under management (AUM) to grow at a CAGR of 33 per cent over the next five years, taking the AUM of the overall industry to nearly Rs 16 lakh crore, a four-fold increase over current levels.

Rising higher, falling harder

The Indian equity market has had a terrible beginning in 2008. The Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) India Index has been the second biggest loser among all indices across the world.

"We will launch our entire range here"

Matthew Abramo, Director (International Trade), Tiffany & co. at this iconic jewellery company, was recently in Mumbai for the brand’s imminent launch in India. He spoke to BT’s Deepti Khanna Bose on Tiffany’s plans in this country.

Instant tip

The fortnight’s burning question. Is the Indian Economy heading for a slowdown?

Chidambaram's real balance sheet

The government is in a generous mood. Close on the heels of the Rs 60,000-crore farm loan waiver package announced in the 2008-09 Union Budget comes the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, which are likely to be accepted.

Incredible, India

The recent spurt in crimes against foreign tourists has seriously dented the image of “Incredible India” and led to a chorus of protests from industry representatives.

Just wondering ...

What happened to the legal battle between the Birlas and their erstwhile auditor R.S. Lodha over the late Priyamvada Birla’s will bequeathing the M.P. Birla estate to him? The litigation is still being fought before the Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court.

To be precise

“Inflation is driven by high commodity prices and food prices; since we’re importing commodities, we’re actually importing inflation”
Current Relative haven

Relative haven

John Cushman is still bullish on Indian real estate.

Nine yards to turn around

Mysore saree maker KSIC pulls itself out of the red.

Serving the dark continent

Africa is turning out to be a services market for India.

WiMAX boom?

Yes, but it won’t be before 2009, says Gartner.

The security of security

The TOPSGRUP has its (safe) hands full.

Keeping up with the Dhonis

Marketers are finding new havens in non-metro India.

Good luck of the Irish

A little-known cement maker from AP strikes a big deal.

Hot off the press!

Andhra Chief Minister’s son launches a newspaper.

Murdoch takes strike

The 37-year-old Lachlan Murdoch clearly has ambitions of emerging as a media & entertainment baron in his own right, and he’s going about it in his own quiet way. The one-time heir apparent to News Corp. has India on his radar.

Vend it like Beckham

Out-of-home is a hot emerging growth area for F&B firms.

No poverty of ideas

Relieving rural penury may not be a pipe dream.

Megacorps in microfinance

India Inc. wants to lend to the poor.
Editorial It's time to rethink the Tibet question

It's time to rethink the Tibet question

It’s a paradox that India’s foreign policy mandarins have to address. India harbours big power ambitions but is stuck with a strategic doctrine that remains mired in the Third World mindset.

Hobson's choice

Despite its best efforts at keeping prices down, the government is faced with an inflation fire that refuses to die out. The inflation rate based on the wholesale price index shot up to a 13-month high of 6.68 per cent for the week ended March 15.

Low-cost innovation

If there’s one human trait that has seen mankind through the Earth’s tumultuous history, it is the ability to innovate.
Letters Feedback from readers

Feedback from readers

The cover story on HUL showcases the comeback of the consumer goods giant after a period of sluggish growth. When Nitin Paranjpe takes over the mantle as the new CEO in April, he will have a tough job on his hand.
Leadership Spotlight The quintessential competitor

The quintessential competitor

Until last fortnight, things were going the way india’s largest drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories and its boss Malvinder Singh had planned.
Printed Circuit Less is more

Less is more

The Bose SoundDock Portable is a great speaker, but is a mite too expensive.

Small and delightful

The Sony Vaio TZ38 is as good looking as it is effective.
Policy Watch End to ADC regime

End to ADC regime

In a move that will lead to cheaper calls, TRAI has decided to scrap the Access Deficit Charge (ADC) from April. ADC is the charge levied (0.75 per cent of revenues) on all telecom companies to support BSNL’s fixed line services in rural India.

Short selling is back

After dithering for a while, SEBI (Securities & Exchange Board of India) has finally decided to bite the bullet on short sales.

Inflation is the enemy #1

With the inflation rate rising, officials in North Block have gone into a firefighting mode. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has already indicated that he is willing to trade off higher economic growth in order to check prices (it almost certainly rules out a move to a softer interest rate regime anytime soon).
News Maker Rahul Bhasin

Rahul Bhasin

Last fortnight, when talk of a new india-specific fund being raised by Baring Private Equity Partners (India) surfaced, it brought into focus the firm’s success and the man largely responsible for it, Managing Partner Rahul Bhasin.
Money The big fight

The big fight

Few months ago, things were looking good in the markets. But in barely 10 weeks, the financial landscape has changed, and the bears have got an upper hand in the stock market.

Soaring through the ceiling

Inflation is back and is eating into your returns. Here’s how you can beat this monster.

Funds that survived the crash

Find out how a clutch of equity-based funds managed to outperform the benchmark indices during the market crash.
In This Issue Smells like a rewarding career

Smells like a rewarding career

The wine industry in India offers an assortment of opportunities.

I am not too afraid of failure: Richard Branson

The 57-year-old chairman of Virgin Group was in India to announce the launch of the company’s mobile operations. Virgin has launched its Virgin Mobile brand in the country targeted at Indian youth. In a freewheeling chat with BT’s T.V. Mahalingam, Richard Branson spoke about capitalism, leaping off buildings, Bollywood, James Bond and, of course, the group’s plans for India. Tata-Virgin tie-up can go ahead, says DoTTie-up with Virgin Mobile above board says Tata

Dark clouds on Dalal Street

As recession in the US takes its toll of global markets, an eerie hush prevails on D-street unlike around this time when last year, India Inc. was basking in the glow of cross-border conquests. Deal makers and merchant bankers haven't been so idle in a long time. BT's Krishna Gopalan reports.
Jobs Shaping an ultimate winner

Shaping an ultimate winner

Every potential leader needs a mentor who has been there, done that and knows the pressures that come with the job. This is particularly important for young leaders who should consciously have two or three mentors for gaining wisdom, experience and a wider perspective. BT’s Pallavi Srivastava tells us about some young guns and their gurus and strategists. 
People The people who matter

The people who matter

A hefty stock price climb and revenue upturn later, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has been handed a massive pay hike. In her first full year in charge, the Chennai-born Nooyi, 53, got paid $14.74 million, more than double the $6.3 million she earned in 2006 as PepsiCo’s CFO.
Features Can team JM win?

Can team JM win?

When US investment bank Morgan Stanley parted ways with JM Financial last February after a 10-year relationship, the Indian financial services major, in which founder Nimesh Kampani owns 67 per cent of the equity, got richer by a cool $425 million. For decades, Kampani has been a veritable one-man army on Deal Street. He’s now attempting to build a multi-faceted institution, but the going may not to be smooth. BT's Mahesh Nayak reports.

Ratan Tata: In the driver's seat

Tata Motors has acquired iconic British auto brands Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Company for $2.3 billion. But does it have a concrete plan to turn them around? BT's Krishna Gopalan finds out.

He's smiling again

TVS currently ranks #8 in the global pecking order of two-wheeler manufacturers, with players such as Hero Honda, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Bajaj Auto way ahead of it. Buoyed by a spate of product launches, including a new 125cc motorbike, TVS Motor’s Venu Srinivasan is looking to not just wrest back market share but also become a global heavyweight. BT's N. Madhavan reports. TVS Motors: Stepping back to win

Herd on the street

Say hello to the brash new kids on Dalal Street. Flush with funds, thanks to till-recently booming primary and secondary markets as well as generous infusions by venture capital and private equity majors, most of these single-service houses (primarily stockbroking) are now planning to get into areas that have been traditionally the preserve of dyed-in-the-wool deal makers. BT's Mahesh Nayak reports.

Gautam Adani - The man who wants to be infrastructure king

The 43-year-old school dropout, Gautam Adani, who was recently ranked #10 among Indian billionaires by Forbes, is thinking big—and ahead—for ways to expand his business empire. He already runs the Mundra Port in Gujarat. That’s only Act I in his plan of becoming India’s largest infrastructure player. A report by BT's Anand Adhikari.
Noted Noted


Permitted by RBI, DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest bank, to open eight new branches across India. RBI has also issued a licence to United Overseas Bank of Singapore to set up shop in India.
Deal Watch Deal watch

Deal watch

Every month, we bring you a listing of the biggest deals struck by Indian companies in India and abroad. Our partner: global professional services firm Ernst & Young. Here are the deals that were struck in March 2008.
Treadmill Breathing right in the gym

Breathing right in the gym

A proper breathing pattern is one of the most important constituents of a weight-training regimen but, unfortunately, many people, particularly beginners, often pay scant attention to how they breathe when they’re lifting weights.

Stay healthy in a closed environment

If you always suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Such headaches are often accompanied by fatigue and tired eyes, and could be due to the office environment.
Book Pop economics

Pop economics

One of India’s best-known economic writers gathers his thoughts all over again.
Back of the Book Adventure Inc.

Adventure Inc.

Corporate executives are rediscovering life and work fundamentals in rock climbing, trekking and other outdoor activities. They realize that it is not possible to be very creative and innovative by just being in one place and doing the same mundane job day in and day out. BT’s Anusha Subramanian tells us how executives disconnect from daily tasks to develop efficiencies and different perspectives.
Reporters Diary Fast lane redux

Fast lane redux

Argentum Motors wants to first build powertrains and then do full-fledged vehicle assembly at the erstwhile Daewoo Motors facility in Surajpur.
Event Biometrics is the future

Biometrics is the future

Multi-modal, all purpose smart cards are the way forward for India, say experts at the seventh BT Round Table.
BT More Loafing around

Loafing around

They are easy to slip on, comfortable and do wonders to your style quotient. These loafers are a must-have this year.


Raise your style quotient with some of the hottest new products this summer.

The best Indian restaurants

Indian food is hardly homogenous. The local cuisine changes every few hundred kilometres. Find out which restaurants in the five metros boast of the finest Indian cuisines.

Vice vice baby

A little bit of sinning is just fine. But how much is too much? Let the experts tell you.

The career corporate golfers

We now have a new breed of golfers called “career corporate golfers”. These guys stay on the lookout for tournaments and they don’t have to look too hard judging by the growing popularity of such events.

The world at your doorstep

Where do you go to taste the finest international cuisine in India? Read on.

The food expats love

They have come from different parts of the world but share a common passion—Indian food.We asked a few expats where they love to eat and what their favourite Indian dish is.

Horror show

What makes a good horror movie? No one really knows, although many books have been filled trying to explain the visceral kick that’s inherent in a truly good horror movie. This fortnight, we step back and review three classics which have been re-released as DVDs in recent months.

Unwind in a heavenly Spa

Stressed out? Head to a spa this week and treat yourself to a magical few hours.

The bourbon files

Americans treat this as a national symbol of pride. Discover why.

American pop culture revisited

A magnum opus that explores the journey of the American people from the time of the Red Indians to the present—this is a great read for those interested in countries and their history.

Are you driving a 'safe' car?

ABS is a must in Indian driving conditions, but advanced stability systems are not as important as in the developed world because here the overall speeds are much lower.

The Tuscan seduction

Many people assume that the Italian system of classification of wines is a quality rating. The wines get classified according to their geographical regions of origin and winemakers are not allowed to plant grape varieties that are not statutorily specified for a region.

A colourful summer

This season, add a dash of brightness to your life.

Pack in the punch

Travelling in style doesn’t just mean carrying the best clothes and flying first-class. It also means showing off the classiest travel gear when boarding a flight or checking in at a hotel. Check out some of the finest luggage on offer.

Six beaches to hit this summer

Far from the madding crowd, these seaside destinations in Asia are little known but as beautiful as any beach you will ever visit.

Fast but not too cool

The Porsche Cayenne is a fussy car, but given its specifications, it might just be ideal for the man on the move.

A living theatre

The best home theatre system in India: A shoot-out.

Plunge in for a great workout

The treadmill routine is getting a bit boring? Slip into those colourful trunks and go swimming this summer.

Dress to kill

Forget about the pure white dress shirt for now.Your wardrobe must have these colours.

A heart full of soul

What makes a truly great soul song? A little bit of rhythm and blues, a great deal of spunk and a voice that melts your heart. This fortnight, we look at some British women who are tapping into that rich source of black soul music and coming up with pretty amazing moves.