SBAC 2020 a roaring success - SPJIMR successfully hosted this year's edition of its Business and Academia and Conclave

Monday, January 20, 2020

Select top leaders from across the Indian business spectrum discussed various aspects of the country’s innovation culture at SBAC2020 this past Friday at the Taj Lands End. The meet was attended by the institute’s current post-graduate students, established business leaders, distinguished alumni and influencers.

The were four panel discussions each lasting an hour, speaking about the drivers, enablers, and challenges to inculcating a technology-driven, innovation-first culture in Indian businesses. The quality and insights of the keynote speeches to commence and conclude the conclave added further sheen to what was undoubtedly a successful SBAC2020 conclave. Every talk was further captured graphically on a white board by artist, Santosh Nair.

Here is a roundup of all that was said and discussed in each segment of the conclave:

Academic Keynote Address

Innovation and Technology drives business growth

Speaker - Dr. Soumitra Dutta, Professor and Former Founding Dean, SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

It’s a time for businesses to grow exponentially through technological investment, opined Mr. Dutta. However, adopting new business models is successful only when it’s at par with societal understanding of technology.

He stressed on the importance of India climbing up the ladder on the Network Readiness Index and the Global Innovation Index, his two areas of extensive research.


  • Mr. Aditya Swamy, Director, Google India
  • Ms. Shalini Kapoor, Director & CTO of Watson IoT IBM
  • Ms. Kavita Angre, Chief of Consumer & Marketing Insights and Media, L’Oreal
  • Ms Sujit Ganguli – Head, Brand and Corporate communication, ICICI Bank
  • Mr. Akash Banerji – Business head, VOOT Advertising Video Platform, Viacom 18  

Data insights and usage are playing a key role across all industries, be it the entertainment, BFSI, cosmetics, or the IT space. Effective data analysis and the ability to infuse AI into business processes will determine business successes in future. Alongside, companies have to maintain transparency about the usage of customer data and ensure anonymization of personal identifiable data to allay customer fears of misuse of their data. This will lead to improved relationships with customers.

  • R Gopalakrishnan, Author and Corporate Advisor, Executive in Residence, SPJIMR
  • Mr. Ramesh Ramachandran, Senior Vice President Strategy and Farming as a Service, Mahindra and Mahindra
  • Mr. Haresh Chawla, Partner at True North
  • Mr. Ajay Srinivasan, Chief Executive, Aditya Birla Capital Limited
  • Ms. Aditi Namdeo, Head of Operations and Business Engagement, Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution India, WEF

“Innovation is a mindset” as said by Mr. Srinivasan and that set the theme for the session. Companies, similar to people, need to reinvent themselves as technology is not only changing the way industry functions but has become a norm. As highlighted by Ms. Namdeo, there is a need for change in people’s mindset to accept the technological upgrade and because India is a complex model with federal structure, handshakes between state and central government is crucial to bring about this change. The company’s internal ecosystem needs to keep pace with the already advanced external ecosystem, not only to grow, but even to survive.

  • Mr. Vivek Sunder, COO, Swiggy
  • Mr. Harish Narayan, CMO, Myntra Jabong
  • Mr. Nikhil Arora, VP and MD, GoDaddy Inc.
  • Mr. Nishchay AG, Director, Bounce
  • Mr. Pulkit Trivedi, Director, Google Pay India

“Going from zero to one is an art, and from one to ten is science” said Mr. Nishchay as he described Bounce’s journey from starting as a mobility startup to foraying into consumer insight specialization.

The panel started with a discussion on the origins and the transformation within their companies, Innovation that is driving the change in business. Innovation is forcing companies to adopt digital transformation and completely change their business models.

However, does this mean a company veers away from its core competency? Innovation can be in terms of products, services, experience and even industry, but a company must remain true to its core competency. The founders must be confident about the technology, the team and the core user needs. A firm must have a purpose and know the product it wants to offer to the customers. 

So how does a company set out to become innovative? Does it strive for innovation right from its inception? Or is innovation realised in hindsight? According to Mr. Aga, “No company that set out to be innovative ever became innovative, all firms realize their innovation only in retrospect.” To successfully develop a culture of innovation, firms must allow its people to fail.

Social Sector Keynote Address

How technology and Innovation come together to create superior socially sound outcomes?

Speaker: Sonam Wangchuk, Founding Director, Students Education and Cultural Movement of Ladakh

The showstopper event of the day featured Mr. Wangchuk explaining in-depth as to how self-sustaining educational institutions engenders an environment of free learning.

He started with his own story of being born in a remote part of Ladakh, growing up without schooling, becoming a mechanical engineer and how this experience helped him find an alternative school that fostered innovation and hands-on learning with immediate results that made a huge difference to the lives of local students.

Next he discussed his efforts in bringing about an environmental change in Ladakh, a region that is faced with a problem of extremes – floods and landslides in May as glaciers melt, and acute water shortage in winter. By challenging the status quo of the environment with small innovations, we can bring about a big change in the lives of the people.

Besides, the inventor of the ice stupa, also implored the audience to adopt frugal lifestyles to aid the battle against the devastating effects of climate change.

His passionate appeal and innovations led to a rapturous standing ovation at the end, a befitting way to conclude what had been an immensely enriching, insightful, and a successful business conclave.

For more information about SBAC2020 please visit:

Bhavan's Campus
Munshi Nagar | Dadabhai Road,
Andheri West | Mumbai - 400 058, India
Reception: +91 22 61454200
Delhi Centre
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Campus, 3rd Floor
Gate No. 4, Copernicus Lane
Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001
Tel: 8383059670, 011-23006871, ext-871