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| Pic: IMAGESBAZAAR |
By definition, thought leaders are said to be people or firms who are recognised among their peers for their innovative ideas. Today, it is perceived as a long-term business strategy that resourcefully drives everything the organisation does each day and at all levels
In today's era, it is critical for companies to never take their eyes off building long-term capability platforms. Sustainability of the organisation crucially depends on how long-term value addition is sustained through an environment of engaging new ways of thinking in every segment of the organisation. And, this is the essence of the fast-catching on trend of 'thought leadership'. "Thought leadership is about believing in a powerful idea and giving it shape through conviction and executing it to deliver value to the business. Organisations who believe in thought leadership provide opportunities for generating new ideas, innovative solutions and doing things differently. In the context of thought leadership, a leader cuts across a clutter and evaluates an idea purely from its power of helping the business. In today's world, which can be easily called an era driven by the power of ideas, the organisational leaders should breed thought leadership in the organisation and encourage employees to reinvent and innovate at the same time," defines Ramesh Bawa, MD & CEO, IL&FS Financial Services.
| "Thought leadership encourages concepts, ideas and innovation in products and processes, which differentiates the organisation from the rest of the crowd and gives it the distinct longer term advantages || |
Ashwani Maheshwari, CEO, India division SBU, ITC Infotech concurs, "Thought leadership, is to challenge established thoughts and beliefs, create a solution or process that serves the unmet needs and adds value to the society, thus making one stand tall amongst peers and transforming even an opponent to a follower of his/her beliefs."
Ashok Reddy, managing director, TeamLease Services provides an altered perspective, "Thought leadership is not necessarily about discovering new lands but it's the ability to see with a fresh set of eyes. The opportunities exist and the ability to identify them, structure the business plans and execute the same to create a first mover advantage is what thought leadership is about. It is identifying new ways to do business, and/or approach an opportunity and/or position the company in order to cater to the needs of the market."
D Sundaram, vice chairman and MD, TVS Capital Funds Limited is of the opinion that, thought leadership in many ways focuses on the long-term horizon of the company and contributes significantly to drive market and cost leadership. He says, "Thought leadership encourages concepts, ideas and innovation in products and processes, which differentiates the organisation from the rest of the crowd and gives it the distinct longer term advantages."
With the changing business scenario, India is being looked at as the next powerhouse of economic growth and cultural revolution. Generating path-breaking ideas is the only way for India Inc to live up to the challenge of turning the "change" into game changers for the businesses, and thought leadership facilitates just that. Venkatesh Valluri, chairman and president, Ingersoll Rand India explains, "The approach for India Inc a decade or two earlier was to strategise a 'core competency' in terms of technology, product or market. The scenario has changed now. The present and future is about convergence technologies and collaborative approaches to create solutions as markets are beginning to demand "converged solutions" to address a larger interconnected problem. The new innovations and technologies of the future will not be the forte of single entities or even large organisations alone. The organisations that take the lead in creating these solutions will be seen as industry innovators."
Sanjeev Duggal, CEO, Centum Learning Limited concurs, "The Indian industry is in a unique situation that calls for much more than the standard strategic management models. In these extremely trying global economic conditions, thought leadership can fill the white space from eminent corporate personalities across industry verticals. It is becoming critical for the Indian corporate sector to engage globally acclaimed frontline thinkers from a range of disciplines to help chart a clear-cut direction going forward."
Prakash PK Menon, partner in charge, Thought Leaders India explains further, "As one of the fastest-growing democratic nations on the planet, India is rich in thought leadership. The business success stories and size of the challenges India faces, as it steps confidently into the future, make it a hot bed for innovation, creative thinking and excellence."
Thus, thought leadership is a long-term business strategy that drives everything the organisation does each day and at all levels. A thought leader is an innovator in a very specific niche, and customers in that niche recognise, value, and most importantly, are willing to pay for that leadership position.
- Arshie Chevalwala