TCS announces partnership with Headstart in its Co-Innovation Network

Ananth Krishnan, CTO has just announced partnership with Headstart in its Co-Innovation Network at Headstart 2009. Earlier, he talked about how TCS sees startups as a path to innovate better. TCS had a look at its innovation strategy in 2002. He said that TCS had already been researching for more than 20 years by then.

In 2003, he started with a group of researchers, small companies and academia. The whole idea was to look at creating something that could enable collaboration in an unstructured way. It was well established that innovative things happen in a disruptive manner and that needs a completely new work.

He outlined the strategy from CK Prahlad’s idea of R = G, N = 1 (Resources are Global and all customers are unique with segment size of 1). They also had a look at what motivates individuals to work on an open source innovation. All this resulted in a Co-Innovation Network (COIN)

TCS had pre-launched COIN in 2004. Then, TCS had outlined six modes of participation – a VC, a startup, a strategic partner or TCS, an entrepreneur, TCS innovation lab expert or a TCS customer – in addition to the academic partners of TCS.

The network was established with a clear intention to work for selfish interests of each of the partners. For example, VCs needed to meet new exciting companies. They looked at this as a market channel.

COIN has enabled TCS to access innovation outside of TCS. This has not been very easy to sell internally because this now creates competition for our own researchers. But we have still been able to push the network within the company. But TCS itself had a lot to learn from this. Orchestration of multi-company initiatives was one major learning. Other was to set the expectations of the company right in terms of what you can and what you cannot get out of partners, and in what time frame.

Another perspective that TCS customers gain from participating in COIN is that they now have a channel to access several new innovations outside their own internal R&D. They realize that it is a very hard challenge to commercialize research. Actual monetisation ratio for patents is less than 10%. So, COIN allows them to access many times as big a pool of research and IP. Suddenly, they feel that their access to amount of innovation has suddenly leapfrogged.

TCS and Headstart have already announced the collaboration. He said he is bullish about the prospect of Headstart Network’s capability to connect to innovation across the Indian startup ecosystem.

He also clarified that COIN is not a lottery for a startup that the sales would suddenly shoot out of the roof. All that COIN is enabling is to connect with several large enterprises and make your visibility higher. You will have to do all the hardwork. All the best!

-Posted by Arpit


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