Porter Prize 2012: From the CEOs Desks

The porter prize awards came to India for the first time this year. This is the first time the prestigious porter prize awards have been organised beyond Japan, where it started back in 2001 in the honor of Harvard business school professor, Dr. Michael E. Porter.

The registrations that started back in June this year, culminated in an awards ceremony held at the Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon, on September 28, 2012.

The ceremony saw the assembly of the top Chief Executive Officers of some of the most innovative enterprises in India.

The event kicked off with four intense panel discussions on several topics regarding the choices companies have to make in terms of business strategies: what business strategies differentiate them from the rest, how to deal with competition, the corporate social responsibility, change versus consistency.

The panelists included many eminent professionals and entrepreneurs, excelling in their different arenas, like Amitabh Choudhry, CEO, HDFC Bank, Tonmoy Shingal, COO, Mettl, Phanindra Sama, CEO, Redbus, Sandip Das, Director, Aircel, Anoop Prakash, MD, Harley Davidson India and Vipul Shah, CEO, Dow Chemicals. The decisions a company needs to make to serve its clientele better or the deliberate choice to not act at certain times were amongst the numerous themes discussed, where the panelists had differing views on their strategies that varied across different fields.

It was followed by a presentation by Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, Special Secretary, in the public diplomacy division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, who spoke about leveraging soft power for business investments. He also shed light on the different successful projects the ministry had undertaken such as the India-Africa project that got a massive response or the current ASEAN-India project.

The highlight of the evening was the keynote address by Professor Michael E. Porter, via video conference; he elaborated and guided companies on the way to go about when deciding business strategies. He elaborated on the difference between a strategy and an idea or a vision, and advised them that while the best technologies and human resources are the need for any company to accomplish itself, it is the critical and vital choices about clientele and products that the companies make that differentiate them from their competitors. He encouraged companies to try and be unique in their approach instead of chasing to be the best, as it is their uniqueness that will attract the intended clientele, and success will automatically follow.

The hour-long address was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the Harvard professor, where he answered some challenging questions posed by the audience, which included some faces familiar to him, such as Amitabh Chaudhry, CEO, HDFC Life, who had been to Harvard Business School earlier.

This was followed by the much awaited awards ceremony, wherein companies with the most unique and innovative strategies in their respective arenas were given the IFC Mint Strategy Awards.

The awardees were:

  • Apollo Clinicals in healthcare;
  • Cargill India in food & beverage;
  • Cinepolis for mass entertainment and recreation;
  • Ingersoll Rand in steel;
  • Mahindra Life Spaces Developers in real estate;
  • Mettl in educational training;
  • Orange County in tourism and hospitality;
  • Redbus under transportation, logistics and aviation;
  • Sealed Air in industrial and chemicals category;
  • SIDBI under finance, banking and insurance;
  • Yum India in food & beverage; and
  • Zelsar in the media and telecom category

Seven Porter Prize awards were given away. The esteemed recipients were:

  • Bharti Airtel
  • HDFC Life
  • ICICI Lombard
  • Mother Dairy
  • Mahindra Finance
  • Make my Trip; and
  • Vaatsalya Healthcare Private Ltd.

Professor Porter then congratulated the elated awardees via video conference, commending the companies for their innovative strategies and management practices.

The awardees were thrilled for the prestigious recognition. A delighted CEO of Cinepolis India, Milan Saini, told us that their strategy is to offer better value for customers; shows in large formats, better multiplex locations and convenient choice in show timings to the customers differentiated their company from the rest in competition.

Entrepreneur Panindra Sama, CEO, Redbus, shared his story with us. As a hassled customer on the eve of Diwali (an Indian festival) he was unable to reach home for the festival due to unavailability of buses. That is when the idea of Redbus was born. Tapping the marketing potential of the internet and using it to bring the customers and bus operators to the same platform, meant creating an avenue and a market that never existed before.

Deep Kalra, the CEO of Make My Trip, the pioneer venture that changed the way India booked air tickets, said, “What we brought to the industry is transformation; our ability to challenge the dynamics of the way the industry functions, by disrupting the conventional norms and using technology.” That gave them an edge over their competitors, and the proof is there for all to see, especially now that he won the Porter Prize!

The Chairman and President of Ingersoll Rand, Venkatesh Valluri, on asked how does an engineering firm adapt its strategies to be the best, said, “In the industry we are recognized as a company with a different strategy, as in old-world engineering companies, it is very difficult to constant change strategies. Here, we try and change the game, through what we call “the strategy of convergence.” Through business convergence, technology convergence and social convergence, we operate with other enterprises together, and we create a much larger market, rather than just selling our product. So, from a product, it becomes a coalition, where we take multiple business practices together, and sell our customers a complete solution.”

Abhiruchi Chatterjee

Image Source [The Viewspaper]