Design Thinking: It All Begins With Empathy

The digital revolution has transformed the way consumers shop for products and services, search for information and interact with companies. Today, consumers expect personalized communication, seamless transactions, and curated products that meet their specific needs. This change in expectations and behavioral patterns of consumers has elevated the role of Design Thinking — a methodology that helps align business strategy with experience strategy, thereby creating a path that puts empathy and the understanding of people’s behaviors at its core.

This is what Mad*Pow, Tech Mahindra’s recent acquisition will do. Through human-centered design activities, Mad*Pow, a leading US-based strategic design consultancy, will help companies identify what motivates their target audience, what they desire, and what should happen next in their journey.

According to recent research by Forbes, a mature Design Thinking practice can achieve an ROI of 85 percent or greater at the organizational level.

C. P. Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, "The acquisition of Mad*Pow is in sync with Tech Mahindra’s global digital charter. With this collaboration, our digital footprint will take a deeper root not just in the US, but in the wider ecosystem world over. I welcome the Mad*Pow team into the Tech Mahindra family, and I am confident that together we will achieve greater success."

Mad*Pow’s unique human-centered design approach is a valuable differentiator for Tech Mahindra’s 900+ customers and will help create innovative experiences, and digital solutions for global clients.

Driving Positive Change

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainability and enhanced competitiveness were the focus areas at the 'Corporates for Change Conclave'. This event was hosted on August 8, 2019, by V.S. Parthasarathy, Group CFO and Group CIO, Mahindra Group, and who is also the recently appointed President of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

As global business conglomerates combine their efforts to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through innovative solutions, the idea behind the Conclave was to promote sustainable, social, economic, financial, and environmental initiatives that are comprehensive and inclusive.

Launched by the United Nations (UN) in 2015, SDGs are a set of 17 global goals aimed at transforming our world by 2030. According to a flagship report, achieving the SDGs could create 380 million jobs and help unlock at least USD 12 trillion in opportunities for businesses by 2030.

Companies, therefore, have a critical role to play as a source of finance, as an engine of economic growth and employment, and as a driver of innovation.

V.S Parthasarathy, Group CFO and Group CIO, M&M and President BCCI, said, “I believe that we need to transition from merely spending to investing and building sustainable, economically viable and scalable models for development. I dream that we develop a playbook of such models, which are tested and replicable at scale. These investments will pay for themselves over time and create a virtuous cycle of competitiveness and development.”

MANA Plans US Expansion

As part of their expansion strategy in the United States, Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) is planning to open a second manufacturing plant in Flint, Michigan. The second facility promises to generate more than 2,000 jobs over the next five years. MANA’s first manufacturing plant is located in Auburn Hills, Michigan from where the Company launched the ROXOR off-road work and recreational vehicle last year.

Rick Haas, President and CEO, Mahindra Automotive
North America,
said, “We have a long-term product plan and we believe the former Buick City site in Flint is a strong contender for what would essentially be Mahindra’s first large scale manufacturing operation in the United States.

It is close to our current facility, which improves overall enterprise efficiency, and the site is one of the oldest manufacturing sites in the US with a long, storied automotive history.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1,64,000 jobs were created in July 2019. Last year (2018), around 2,64,000 new manufacturing jobs were added, representing the highest number of new workers since 1988. As a percentage of the total workforce, manufacturing rose for the first time since 1984.

‘Mahindra made me the person that I am today’

It is business as usual at the Mahindra office in Mumbai. The Brand Manager sitting at her desk, right at the center of all the hustle-bustle, is sending out emails and making calls to various agencies. Looking at her today, it is difficult to imagine that this is the same fresh out-of-college girl who had joined Mahindra five years back. Recollecting her journey that has been full of learnings, Prarthna Shetty (Brand Manager, Auto Division) shares with Echo why she believes Mahindra has helped her evolve, grow and transform.

Within a year of joining, the Management Trainee took over as the Area Sales Manager looking after five coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. Though working ‘on-field’ came with its own set of challenges, she was happy to break the stereotypes which are normally associated with female Area Managers. Prarthna found the experience ‘gratifying’ and gets nostalgic, as she recalls her journey of grooming the dealer manpower into managerial roles, interacting with customers right through their purchase decision, and the satisfaction of the delightful delivery experience.

Transitioning to an Executive Assistant under the Vice President (National Sales), M&M, Prarthna got the opportunity and freedom to grow and learn from several verticals such as HR, Marketing, Accounts, Sales Planning, Process Adherence, and Business Excellence.

She was also a part of the F18-19 Auto Sector Shadow Board, a prestigious group handpicked by the Sector President Mr. Rajan Wadhera to represent the Sales & Marketing department to the Group Executive Board. Armed with the confidence to take any challenge that comes her way, and using it as a stepping-stone for the next opportunity, Prarthna became a part of the think-tank that launched the ‘XUV 300’, and soon after moved to the marketing department as a Brand Manager.

Along with her phenomenal professional journey, Prarthna believes the empowered work culture has also transformed her personally. At the Mahindra Group, she was nurtured to challenge conventional thinking, push limits and constantly strive for perfection. Today, she is more adventurous, better at handling stress and does not shy away from taking calculated risks.

When asked, why she comes to work every day?
Prarthna says with a smile, “This is where I belong.”

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Mahindra Rise

Malaika Vaz is a @NatGeo Explorer on a mission to drive conservation impact globally. In her time at UWC Mahindra College, the transformative education empowered her to act on her beliefs & it is our privilege to be part of her #Rise.

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