IMI Kolkata organized its second Annual Management Conclave, Converse 2019, on the theme “Driving Sustainable Growth and Competitive Advantage through Design Thinking” on August 30 & 31, in IMI Kolkata campus.

2nd Annual Management Conclave | Inaugral Session

The two-day event ignited insightful discussions among illustrious speakers. The inaugural ceremony began by lighting the lamp of erudition by the dignitaries, marking the start of the Conclave. In his welcome address, Professor Arindam Banik, Director, spoke about the inception of the idea of Converse for IMI Kolkata.Mr. Apurva Chamaria, Chief Revenue Officer, RateGain, in his keynote address elucidated that most companies are structured around silos that is a cause of concern as most organizational problems are cross-disciplinary. Design thinking helps shatter these silos, creates a virtual wall around them and makes companies more humane. Professor Mohua Banerjee drew the session to a close with a vote of thanks.

The first panel had an enlightening session on “Design thinking (Innovation)”.Mr. Dhaval Thanki, Director, Business Development (Solutions and Consulting), Cartesian Consulting, started the discussion by talking about how the combination of vertical and lateral thinking can lead to innovation. Mr. Arijit Roy, Senior Director, TCG Business Solutions, mentioned that the opportunities which we cannot avail are the biggest risks. Mr. Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief of Marketing, Angel Broking, urged the businesses to solve the problem with the customer and emphasized on the importance of subject rather than the object. Mr. Vikesh Walia, Board Member, Times Group, spoke about the various challenges companies face trying to integrate the fundamentals of both design thinking and innovation.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Anbu Rathinavel, Chief Design Office & Head-School of Design Thinking, Intellect Design Arena. He spoke about the elements of a great design, which are simplicity, experience, frictionless, efficiency, complexity reduction, and above all questioning assumptions.

The second panel shared their insights on “Design Thinking – Empathy Mapping”. The moderator for the panel was Professor Mohua Banerjee, Dean – Corporate Relations, IMIK. Mr. Dhritiman Sengupta, National Head – Strategic Accounts, Randstad India, spoke about the importance of understanding the ecosystem one is going to be a part of so that they can understand what kind of value they will bring to that organization. Ms. Namrita Mahindro, Senior General Manager – Digital Transformation and Innovation, Mahindra Group, expatiated about ‘Reverse Mentoring’ i.e. an initiative where older executives ask young employees for advice and inputs on current trending matters such as technology. Mr. Devank Mishra , COO and Founding Member, Autogram, highlighted the importance of creating relevant technology as per the needs of the target audience.

The first day of the conclave came to an eventful end with the final panel discussion on the topic “Design Thinking (Leadership and Culture)”. The session was moderated by Dr. Gobinda Roy, Assistant Professor, IMIK. Mr. Madhu Sudan Kankani, Partner – Assurance, Deloitte, explained that leadership is a skill that can be acquired and practiced. Mr. Judhajit Das, Chief – Human Resource, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, illustrated through the iceberg model that understanding the values of people is a prerequisite for accepting their cultures. Mr. Gautam Khanna, Vice President – Global head, Modernization practice, highlighted that leadership is about learning from failures as much as it is learning from successes.

The final day of the conclave began with the penultimate panel discussion on the topic “Design Thinking (Our Digital Future)”. The session was moderated by Dr. Rituparna Basu, Associate Professor, IMIK. Mr. Christopher Victor, Director-Consumer, GlobalData, threw light on the fact that the future is going to be data centric as strategic decisions are taken on the basis of data, facts and figures. Mr. Naveen Kejriwal, General Manager, Lenovo, talked about how data drives marketing and how with the help of data, businesses are able to push consumer specific advertisements promoting their brands and influencing them to buy their product. Mr. Vipin Gandhi, India Innovation Lead, SAP, said that in order to create a long-term vision, there is a need to bring the head and the heart together for design thinking. Mr. Vivek Shah, AVP, Hotstar, talked about the benefits of using applied design thinking in the field of digital marketing. Mr. Winston A De Rosario, Head-People and Culture, Quintype, motivated the students to be become great listeners as it is the best way to be empathetic towards one another.

This was followed by a Concept Note Address on the topic – Building Extraordinary Leadership with Positive Mindset – Design Thinking. Mr. Amit Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, Exicom Telecom mentioned that according to a study, out of the skillsets required to become successful – hard skills and soft skills, about 88.5% is attributed to the latter.

The two-day came on an end with the final panel discussion on the topic – Design Thinking (Value Insights)”. The session was moderated by Dr. Boudhayan Ganguly, Associate Professor, IMIK. Mr. Chandrasekhar Mukherjee, Chief People Officer, South Indian Bank, discussed that design thinking has a significant role to play in human resources as the concepts in it are also human-centric. Mr. Jigar Avlani, DVP – HR, Edelweiss Financial Services, addressed the issue of making the three phases of an employee’s journey in an organization, from onboarding to employee life cycle to deboarding, memorable and seamless. Mr. Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, Country Group Head- HR, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd., spoke about the habituation syndrome and said that it can restrict innovation from a design perspective. Mr. Nitin Rungta, Manager of E-Commerce, Rupa & Company Limited, spoke about the company Beyond Meat, which released the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat section of grocery stores internationally. It was a testament to the successful implementation of design thinking which helped it to get into a monopolistic market and acquire a considerable market share.

Mementos were presented to the guests as a parting token of gratitude and appreciation. Converse 2019 came to an impressive and successful end, leaving the IMI Kolkata fraternity eager for an equally magnificent event next year.

Panel 1 – Design thinking (Innovation)

Panel 2 -Design thinking – Empathy Mapping

Panel 3 – Design thinking -Leadership & Culture

Panel 4 – Design Thinking -Our Digital Future

Panel 5 – Design Thinking – Value Insights

The Business Value of Design Thinking – From Insights to Innovation by Dr. Anbu Rathinavel

Concept Note Address by Mr. Amit Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, Exicom Telecom