February 2014

European regional final of Tata InnoVista 2014 celebrates innovation

Tata employees and their families and external industry stakeholders gathered to celebrate the most innovative and creative ideas pioneered by Tata companies in Europe in 2013-14 at the Bombay Brasserie in London

The European regional final for the 2014 Tata InnoVista competition was held at the Tata-owned Bombay Brasserie in London.

The first of eight regional finals being held around the world, the competition saw around 210 Tata employees and their families gather on February 17 to celebrate the most innovative and creative ideas pioneered by Tata companies in the last year. Organised annually by the Tata Group Innovation Forum, and hosted by the Tata Network Forum (Europe), this year’s Tata InnoVista saw 66 Tata companies around the globe submit nearly 1,750 ideas.

Companies based in the UK, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Global Beverages, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel, as well as a Tata Steel team from The Netherlands, spent the day pitching their entries to a panel of judges, competing in a variety of categories. These ranged from ‘New Product’ and ‘Core Process’ to ‘Support Process’ and ‘Dare to Try’ — an award which recognises that, whilst not all innovations may ultimately succeed in the end, there is a huge amount to be learned from, celebrated in, and encouraged by, attempts to introduce innovative thinking to any business.

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Throughout the day, the diversity of Tata’s businesses was demonstrated by the different teams, numbering 14 in total. United by a commitment to, and enjoyment of, innovating, they presented their latest ideas from a virtual simulation of light weight car body architecture, and bespoke bridge fences and safety features, to black and green tea, and a sustainable approach to tin sourcing.

The winners, chosen by the panel of external judges made up of Dr Clive Hayter, associate d irector for capability at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Dr Simon Hepworth, director of corporate partnerships at Imperial College London; and Professor Penny Sparke, professor of design history at Kingston University, were as follows:

  • Promising Innovation – New Product: Active driveline (Jaguar Land Rover)
  • Promising Innovation – New Service: Bespoke bridge parapet and safety fence design (Tata Steel)
  • Promising Innovation – Core Process: Virtual simulation of light weight architecture (Jaguar Land Rover)
  • Promising Innovation – Support Process: Responsible procurement in tin sourcing (Tata Steel)
  • Dare to Try – Optical glass core heater (Jaguar Land Rover)

All of the regional winners will now be judged by a panel, and selected regional winners will be invited to compete in the g rand final of Tata InnoVista 2014 in Mumbai on April 23 and 24, 2014.

A special awards ceremony was also held for the children of Tata employees, who had taken part in the Tata Young Expressions competition. Fourteen children were awarded prizes for their artwork and writings reflecting the spirit of Jamsetji Tata’s vision to create a better world for all at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in India.

The day marked an excellent opportunity for a wide range of employees from Tata companies and external industry stakeholders to come together, to share ideas, and to discuss their wider work around innovation in the UK and Europe. This was particularly the case during the delicious lunch and dinner, provided by the chefs of the Bombay Brasserie.

A dinner reception was later held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, at which the g uest of honour, Lucy Armstrong, chief executive of The Alchemists (an organisation which works with high growth businesses to accelerate their development and success) was joined by guests from Tata Sons in India, Tata Limited in Europe and Tata company heads. These included NS Rajan, group chief human resources officer and m ember of the Group Executive Council; Ravi Arora, vice p resident, innovation, at Tata Quality Management Services; Dr David Landsman OBE, executive director, Tata Limited; Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover; and Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO of Tata Steel Europe.

Following the announcement of the winners, Ms Armstrong gave an address in which she expressed her admiration for the ingenuity and benefits of the innovations that had been showcased, saying: “Innovation has to make a difference in the world, preferably a positive one. It is all about relating to human beings and making their lives a little easier. The ideas we have seen today have a strong sense of a commercial proposition and of making the world a better place, for the consumer, the supply chain, and the environment. It has been a real privilege to have an insight into these proposals.”