Navroze Godrej: Steering Innovation through Design Thinking
Case Code: BSTR517
Case Length: 9 Pages
Pub Date: 2017
Teaching Note: Available
Organization: Godrej & Boyce
Themes: Strategy and Innovation
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts
Focus on Innovation at Goodrej
In 2013, after Navroze graduated with a Master’s in design, he returned to join G&B and spearheaded a pilot project on a disruptive business model. One of the things he changed was the layout of the (office) shop-floor. Unlike the previous directors who worked from their closed office space, he preferred to sit with his project teams around a big table and discuss matters with them. The new furniture layout was intended to support both individual and group work. Navroze felt traditional desk arrangements created a barrier and prevented openness and collaboration...
Godrej Innovation Center
In 2013, Navroze took the bold move of setting up a 25,000 square foot ‘Innovation Center’ in Vikhroli, Mumbai. This was a research and development center to conduct explorative study in areas involving security, lifestyle, well-being, energy, productivity, and connectivity. The innovation center had a fixed 20-member full-time team, while at any given time there were at least a 100 other employees who belonged to other departments deputed to accomplish time-bound projects. As Navroze believed in diversity, the members in the teams came from different backgrounds such as, design, marketing, research, business, engineering, and others. The center had enough space for meetings and lectures, and the furniture was such that it could be reorganized for display of prototype product designs, a collection of material types, and for any other informal interaction as well...
Navroze led the Sprint program that caused a cultural transformation in the company. He facilitated a bottom-up approach, where he invited all the employees of Godrej to submit ideas at the innovation center. Based on their ideas, Navroze set up work groups. For the first time, people with 20 years of experience and those who had joined just six months earlier began working together. The groups came up with ideas that ranged from cooking appliances to recycling of waste, to looking at resources and services for transit population...
Godrej Design Lab
In 2013, Navroze set up the Godrej DesignLab, (GDL), which was established in collaboration with a Mumbai-based design studio, Elle Décor. GDL was a platform for designers to co-create, experiment, innovate, and challenge the boundaries of product design. GDL aimed at providing a holistic support system to designers who could give a whole new level of futuristic designs. GDL was a forum where designers could submit their work in four categories of furniture, furnishings, lighting and home décor, & accessories...
In April 2014, Navroze spearheaded the development of a second innovation center, the Hubble. It was conceived to serve as a hub where people could interact informally to encourage the culture of creative thinking. The Hubble was built on a spacious 25,000 square foot space in the Vikhroli office itself, to function as an eat, work, and play space with a coffee-shop-kind-of-atmosphere. It encouraged both private and collaborative work among the employees...
Reinforcing the Design Tradition
The Chief Design Officer, of GPL, Anubhav Gupta (Gupta), said that though there was no vertical on design in the Godrej group of companies, design was considered a business horizontal as it had become omnipresent in all aspects of the Godrej Group. He said innovation at GPL was not about playing it safe but it required an ability to tolerate failure before earning superlative success. Innovation, according to Gupta, was finding the best possible or the most optimal design...
Exhibit I: Important events in Godrej Group’s timeline
Exhibit II: Profile of the Godrej Group
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