Innovation Management: How & What?

Enabling and fostering innovation is no small task – especially with the myriad theories floating around about how to best go about it. That’s why Innovation Management Framework by Cigaina is an excellent place to start.

In the book, Cigaina explains why it’s critical to align and integrate three dimensions associated with an innovation culture – enterprise and strategy, processes and methodologies, and people and networks. The book also introduces a fourth dimension to connect the other three: orchestration and governance. Through these four dimensions, organizations can achieve a holistic view of innovation management, which is critical to success. In addition to providing a firm foundation for innovation, the book includes real-world examples of innovation practices both inside and outside of SAP. Moreover, it offers concrete guidelines on how to put knowledge into action through an execution model.

Embed innovation principles and practices

Once an organization buys into the concept of innovation management, it’s a good idea for management to help all its employees understand innovation principles and practices – after all, you need their buy-in, too. By doing so, a company can rapidly and proactively expand and cultivate the innovation potential of its workforce.

One key way to do this is by exposing employees to projects that are out of their comfort zones. Another is for management to lead by example, showing that innovation is important to the business. Every six months, SAP holds an internal event that allows its employees to focus on creative work and sharing ideas. To kick off the day, top SAP executives give inspirational speeches about the importance of creative work. Hand in hand with this, organizations must empower employees to collaborate and share ideas, such as by tapping into gamification and crowdsourcing. For instance, companies can integrate idea exchange into online communities and award points for ideas submitted and rated.

Hire a Chief Innovation Officer

While successful innovation initiatives require the participation of various executives and senior managers, when it comes to orchestration and governance, it’s important for one person to be fully accountable for all innovation issues. More and more companies are addressing this requirement by appointing a chief innovation officer.

This person will need to communicate about a variety of topics to everyone across the company and must understand the various business functions and how they contribute to innovation. With that in mind, it’s ideal that the chief innovation officer has a broad range of corporate experience, covering every department from marketing and product marketing to research and development and engineering and operations. At the same time, the CIO should have a background in consulting work, possess strong leadership skills, and understand how to manage employees and other corporate resources. As someone who will need to sell ideas and manage risk, this person should be well respected and understand a variety of business practices. Though the chief innovation officer can’t go it alone, this person can free up senior management to focus on other strategic areas.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for establishing innovation practices in your organization, we’d love to hear your experiences as you spearhead an innovation initiative.

Corporate Session with Rupa Das, Sr. Project Manager, Centuryply

Rupa Das, working as senior Project Manager for Centuryply took our corporate session today. We got to know various information on both data and practical implementation of them. Previously she used to work with IIFL and Kotak Mahindra Bank in the finance department. Also she has experience in the Future group wherein she was into Sales. The job role of her is to identify her key clients and close the deals once completed.

Century ply, basically into Plywood manufacturing and recently they are into modular kitchen and readymade furniture’s from NESTA.

Several questions were asked from the class which covers the following:

How does she identify her prospective clients?

She actually identifies the interiors and architects and visits them, creating business relation with them

Why do the key clients help in lead generation?

On this she said, after the closure of the deal the clients get reward points or bypass points. The CRM activities by Century Ply are given to the key clients. Invitation to the key clients is given for various launching parties, personalized mementos for clients.

In Century ply, there is Product Management Group, who is responsible for enhancing the product line of the company. In this particular department freshers are taken and are a very good department to work with.

As per her e-retailing in furniture industry, shows a slow growth and will take a lot of time to come in India.

In terms of convincing a client, she always speaks what they are best at. As an example she said she had to sale a kitchen, she talks best on the plywood difference with providing more warranty features as compared to competitor.

The main competitor of Century ply is Greenply as shared. When asked, challenges she faced while switching from service industry to sales she shared a very strong feedback with us. As per her, will is a very important factor in one’s, and if you want to grow and enjoy your work you need to work beyond your KRA’s. Working beyond your region will give your career a boost and performance level gets an add-on.

On asked how she interacts with clients, she said we should always be positive and never lose hope. Also she shared while working in corporate sector we should never say a ‘, NO’ and have patience. The client should be made to feel like a god to linger a good relation with the client.

With such an enormous experience in the industry she has brought in a new dimension of practicality in us which will obviously be helpful in future blossoming of our career.


Session Summary

Corporate Speaker: Rupa Das


Rupa Das, currently she works as a senior Project Manager with Century Ply. However, she has 11 years of corporate exposure wherein she worked with Future Group, IIFL.

Centuryply is mainly into Plywood manufacturing, recently modular kitchen, and readymade furniture’s from Nesta.

Any business starts with a need of the product being manufactured and that which will have a customer base.

Her job role is to skilfully identify the key clients and seal the deal of business.

The key clients are treated with the special case and the relation with the client is always aimed to be of long term.

According to her, the e-retailing market for furniture’s does not have a very bright future. As the market is at a very infant stage and the feel factor in case of furniture industry which is obviously compromised in case of the e-retail market.

Each of the departments has a departmental head and their respective sales team, HR teams etc.

Two types of calls in the market:

  1. Cold Calls: Where you have to find the prospective customers and then you have to make the deal
  2. On Calls:  Where the target client its preset and you require to determine by yourself.


To survive an escalate in any industry you always need to try your limits. You constantly need to keep yourself pushing.

Major Competitor of Centuryply is Greenply.

It is easily understood that the brand ambassador are chosen depending on the type of product and the kinds of target customers it is trying to cater and also the kind of message that is required to be passed on.

As a job convincing the client is one of the most challenging jobs and here obviously the brand image is a big factor. The trust factor on any brand plays a huge role in convincing your clients. A proper analysation of the clients’ mentality is required for this process which is done is a big thing which just cannot be overlooked if you want to be in the business industry.

The client should be made to feel like he is the king to linger a good relationship and create a business, even off the line services are rendered.

The CRM activities by Centuryply are mainly given to the key clients. Invitation to the clients are given for the various launching parties, personalized mementos for the clients and handing them over personally makes them feel the warmth of the business relation.

These are some ways by which companies show how much they value their key clients.

Catching the Influential’s

During Puja, a lot of pandals get developed, done by carpenters and talked about their experiences of staying in the city and deeming up the city for the pujas.So, Centuryply went to some of the families members and they were brought to the city for Puja and pandal hopping and the carpenters were given a surprise which seemed to break all barriers of joy for them. This was termed as Century Heroes.

Well coming back to the most argues question with most varied answers where none seems to be satisfactory. To strike a balance between your personal and professional life is the seed you need to sow to reap good fruits in life.

Unquestionably her interactive session had been a great experience for all of us and the kind of practical exposure and knowledge that her words brought into the session cannot be expressed by mere words. We are all indebted for such a session and would look forward eagerly to meet her again.


1) Share your worst experience with the corporate world & you never want to experience it again?

When working with the future group I have to deal with the RBI who investing their money and I was very much confident to convince them but somehow my management say’s NO (as new management took place and there were some internal issue in the organization) that point of time I was very bad experience when I have to say NO to ‘RBI’ for the purchase order which I have got after so many obstacles.


2) Some ‘key mantra’ to enjoy your job as your 1st love?

“Be passionate” about your job, find out the factors which excite you, be self-motivated, stick on to your line which you planned for, have your goal set, saying a straight forward “NO” will affect your career.


3) Do you think being honest & good in corporate every time do really help to grow?

Not always but 90% time honesty paid out. You might face the problem when you are dishonest. In long run, you will not be able to survive through dishonesty. If you say a lie make sure it is not effective to someone. If you are dishonest it’s effect the brand image, don’t try to make false promises to your client.


4) What is your future goal and where you want to see down the line 5-7 year?

After 5 years NESTA will be a brand which will be available in entire country, so my growth will be dependent as the growth of the NESTA. “Head of the institutional businesses is main focused point in long run.