COVER STORY

“FUTURise is an action word, that means ‘bring in the future’ and it resonates well with the strategic objectives we had outlined when we embarked upon the journey of Rise. It seeks to communicate that ‘Mahindra is Innovative’ and aligns well with the pillars of Rise. Innovation is all about Challenging Convention, Thinking Alternatively, with the ultimate aim of Driving Positive Change in the lives of our stakeholders.”

Vivek Nayer
Chief Marketing Officer, Group Corporate Brand

FUTURise

1945

October 2, 1945: India is suffused with patriotic fervour as the freedom struggle galvanises the country. It is a movement stoked by the flames of nationalism, a pride in being Indian and the belief that an independent India has a rightful place in the global league of nations.

It is also a milestone day for two young brothers who see great opportunity in a country that is slowly breaking free from the chains of colonial rule. For J. C. and K. C. Mahindra, a new India is on the horizon, a land of limitless potential brimming with the promise of endless opportunities. Their pioneering vision eventually takes shape in the form of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. which will soon grow into one of India’s most iconic companies. From humble beginnings in steel to tractors, automobiles, IT and beyond, the Group soon grows into a behemoth with the spirit to challenge convention at its core.

2017

Seven decades later, the turmoil of partition and the freedom movement is long over but Mahindra must rise to meet challenges of a different kind. The forces of disruption in socio-economic and geopolitical spheres have resulted in tectonic shifts in business, threatening to shake the very ground beneath our feet.

Innovation is thus, the need of the hour, finding expression in iconic products like the Scorpio as well as new-age ones like the GenZe and the e2oPlus. Platforms like Trringo and SmartShift make the benefits of technology accessible to a wider audience, while our vision for the smart cities of tomorrow promises to transform the way people live, work and play.

“Innovation has always been an integral part of our DNA and a key driver of business success. Having said this, research has indicated that the external world still does not perceive us as a dynamic, new age brand. FUTURise – a combination of ‘Future’ and ‘Rise’ - is our creative expression of innovation and aptly conveys Mahindra’s ambition to transform itself into a globally admired brand driven by our core purpose, Rise,” says Ruzbeh Irani, President (Group Communications & Ethics) & Chief Brand Officer, as he talks about the genesis of FUTURise within the Group. The brand team soon realised that this was a white space opportunity for Mahindra as research revealed that no other Indian brand was perceived as truly innovative.

In order to give expression to this concept, the brand team studied the drivers of innovation both within and outside the Group. They discovered that truly innovative global brands had a clearly defined approach to innovation. They outline the benefits that will accrue to the Company and its stakeholders and identify focus areas for innovation with proof points for each area.

It was this holistic approach that the team sought to emulate at Mahindra. They scrutinised businesses across the Group, looking for common factors that would point to a shared culture of innovation. Three key characteristics emerged as a result of this study – the ability to innovate with limited resources, a collaborative approach to innovation and innovation that is accessible by many. These three aspects were then christened within a ‘3D’ framework which would bring the concept to life namely ‘Do More With Less’, ‘Do It Together’ and ‘Do It For All’.

3D Framework for Innovation

DO MORE WITH LESS

DO IT TOGEHTER

DO IT FOR ALL

DEPTH framework for communicating Innovation stories

DESIGN

ENGINEERING

PEOPLE

TECHNOLOGY

HUBS

Developing the ‘DEPTH’ Framework

The team also began mapping innovation proof points across the Group which would give expression to the 3-D framework. They didn’t just look at products and services, but also the people who drive innovation, the engineers and technical experts who breathe life into our projects and facilities. The intent was to create a holistic narrative through the ‘DEPTH’ framework {Design, Engineering, People, Technology and Hubs} that would showcase how Mahindra is rising to meet the challenges of the future. From Pininfarina and Intelli Hybrid to the experts at Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), Mahindra’s world class R&D facility in Detroit, USA and the engineers behind the Group’s successful Formula E foray, DEPTH drives the content strategy for FUTURise and presents the best of innovation at Mahindra to the world.

The next step was to identify key focus areas for FUTURise based on both internal expertise and external imperatives. The team zeroed in on Mobility, Urbanisation, Farm Tech and IT as these are relevant from the point of view of business priorities, as well as pressing global issues. They are not only industries that shape every modern economy but are also in the midst of an unprecedented global change.

Focus Areas of FUTURise

MOBILITY

URBANISATION

FARM TECH

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Thus, EV 2.0 aims to establish a robust Electric Vehicle (EV) ecosystem by investing in next generation technology solutions and globally competitive products, to drive faster adoption of electric vehicles. Our vision for Smart Cities encompasses meta-performing, connected eco-systems with intelligent living spaces, intuitive work areas and inspirational culture hubs to alleviate the challenges of rapid urbanisation.

Trringo, India’s first tractor and farm equipment rental business aims to make technology more accessible to the farmer, helping increase productivity. DiGiSENSE is a game-changing connected vehicles technology platform that connects Mahindra’s mobility portfolio to the cloud, empowering owners, fleet operators, drivers, dealers and service teams to remotely access vital information about their vehicles in real time.

The team then focussed on evangelising FUTURise - both internally and externally - amongst key stakeholders which includes customers, current and potential employees and investors. The team conceptualised the unique ‘Sounds of Innovation’ campaign, consisting of a film which sought to capture the rhythms of new-age processes and products. The film created a great deal of buzz in the social sphere, catching the attention of key influencers and increasing engagement on Mahindra’s social media platforms.

“The Sounds of Innovation film showcased the best of innovation in our mobility businesses. Right from advanced robotics and electric racing to futuristic design, connected vehicles and smart technology. Apart from this, FUTURise was also the theme of our Annual Report and Annual Review this year,” says Vivek.

So what next in this exciting journey? “Plenty,” says Vivek as he outlines the future of innovation at Mahindra. “We will continue to be the storytellers of our group businesses, and amplify their innovation stories across our multiple channels. We plan to extend this campaign with similar films that will focus on innovation also in the non-mobility space, including farm tech, urbanisation and IT.

Along with the Group Strategy Office, we are also planning a flagship event in 2018 which will focus on innovation and its ecosystem as well as celebrate our key achievements in this space. Rise Prize, which launched in 2014 is now entering the final stages. We had announced prize money of up to USD $1 million, making it India’s biggest innovation challenge. The competition invited entries for a driverless car challenge, bringing FUTURise to life.”

While the priorities and compulsions of the modern age may differ from those of 70 years ago, innovation and technology remain the catalysts for a better future and Mahindra’s aspiration to Rise to the future embodies this belief.

FUTURise not only defines our past and who we are today but also helps us chart out a roadmap to meet the challenges of tomorrow. J. C. and K. C. Mahindra would have been proud.

Anand Mahindra
Chairman,
Mahindra Group

“In a world increasingly characterised by volatility and uncertainty, disruptive changes can cause tectonic shifts in both economic and geo-political spheres. At Mahindra, we need to be ready for this change, embrace it and indeed pioneer it. FUTURise provides us with the relevant framework to respond to the challenges of the future.

The ‘3D’ approach to innovation which is already an integral part of our DNA has been phrased in a humanist manner, designed to simplify the drivers of innovation and make them resonate more with our hearts than our heads. Peter Drucker once said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. FUTURise will not only help us anticipate the imperatives of the future, but will also help us lead it.”