wire being produced

Project nominated for the Excellence in Communications Steelie Award 2021

Innovation is not just the job of the innovation department. This democratisation of innovation led to the concept of TomorrowLAB, a competition conducted on a digital platform that invites pathbreaking ideas from Tata Steel Limited employees.

A communication campaign to more than 10,000 employees enabled and encouraged them to form cross-functional teams to submit their ideas on pre-defined ‘themes’. The shortlisted teams were mentored and their ideas made into business cases. The winning idea is being incubated.

In September 2020, Tata Steel Limited introduced a corporate rebranding campaign – #WeAlsoMakeTomorrow aka #WAMT.

The objective was to alter perceptions of Tata Steel from a trusted entity known for its CSR initiatives to a corporate that is future-focused and driven by technology and innovation. The campaign did move the needle significantly on technology (by 9 percentage points)] and innovation (by 8 percentage points).

For #WAMT to ring true, it could not merely be a campaign line. It had to become an integral part of Tata Steel’s DNA. In order to continue to be perceived as future-focussed, it was imperative to create an innovation pipeline within the company – a marker of agility. This pipeline would also aid our efforts in the area of new materials. Furthermore, Tata Steel, being a knowledge-driven organisation, realised that there was a large knowledge bank within its employees that was waiting to be explored as business ideas by initiating conversations around innovation at all levels.

To drive such conversations, a communication campaign that would act as a call to action was required. Hence the idea of TomorrowLAB was conceptualised. The idea of ‘freedom to fail’ was at the core of the initiative and this encouraged employees to participate and join the journey of innovation.

As part of this initiative, a communication on incubating a ‘culture of innovation’ within each of the 10,000+ employees across Tata Steel and its sister companies was affected, which led to participation by 182 individuals as part of 54 cross-functional teams which
were mentored by the senior and top leadership throughout their journey, thereby driving meaningful conversations around innovation on all levels.

An added outcome was the establishment of a pipeline of ideas that could be developed as products and solutions, one of which, with a market potential of over INR 500 crore (~USD 70 million), is in the
product development phase.