A year ago, Harel Mallac Technologies successfully implemented an Innovation Incubator aimed at nurturing internal game-changing initiatives and fostering innovation within the company to better craft its future.

An innovative company requires two things: Firstly, its capacity to produce products of great reliability and quality and Secondly its capacity to discover what new products to produce.

When it comes to innovation inside large organizations, the biggest problem is rarely having enough funding, it rather boils down to having an adequate function to consistently and reliably make bets on high-risk, high-reward projects without putting the whole company at risk.  And the perfect environment to nurture this culture within an organization is an innovation division.

Hence Harel Mallac Technologies came forward with its own Innovation Incubator. Indeed, finding growth opportunities is no longer left to serendipity or to management’s passing notion. The incubator’s main purpose is to generate, assess and process good innovative ideas and was designed to act as a driving force not only to keep ahead and sustain their competitive edge but also to equip the company with the tools to deal with cutthroat competition, globalisation and disruptive innovation.

Today’s businesses are experiencing disruption from technology as it has never experienced before. Traditional businesses are getting displaced by new entrants who create new markets and value for the customers using technology. Consider how Amazon has disrupted all of the retail industry.

Numerous examples also illustrate this, especially in the replacement of traditional jobs. For example, The Hilton hotel company recently deployed Connie, a concierge robot, able to inform guests about nearby places of interest and provide useful recommendations. For its part, Under Armour has also been using Artificial Intelligence to serve as personal health assistants by analysing sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition of users from its Mobile application & Healthbox sensor. Forester reports predict that by 2021, robots and intelligent agents will have eliminated a net 6% of jobs.

According to Alvinesh Jugun, Senior lead at the Incubator: “An Innovation Incubator is the best way to predict the future or even better, to invent it. It is a driver for accelerating organizational transformation and equipping the company with capabilities to fend off waves of Disruptive Innovation by either adopting them or creating new windows of opportunity

Innovate to consolidate

The realisation of this project lies upon the vision and support of the company’s General Manager, Shateeaum Sewpaul and some key persons, such as Alvinesh Jugun, who has laid the foundations to ensure that the Innovation Incubator has the right tools, process and team in place to operate optimally.  In regards to the team, the department consists of 1-3 passionate technologists, depending on the number of projects and skills required, who are dedicated to crafting solutions to create better digital experience. They are primarily millennials with a university background and working in fields such as Software Engineering, Data Science, Cloud, Web & Mobile App Development and Augmented Reality. They have been recruited in alignment with the department’s culture, being tech-savvy, creative, open to new challenges and willing to pursue experiments. 

The incubator will be our catalyst for business growth, employee engagement, and innovation.

According to Alvinesh Jugun,“This is an avenue where there is perpetual work in progress, as changes in the macro and micro-economic environment are constant”, this initiative is crucial for generating exceptional value for customers and creating new market space, being the catalyst for business growth, employee engagement and innovation.

As for its operation within Harel Mallac Technologies, it entails a well-structured and systematic process. This requires investment in terms of time, finance and expertise.

In addition to this, the two core elements to support innovation within a company are the structure and the methodologies. The Innovation Incubator unit addresses the first aspect by developing new business models within an agile framework. Adopting a customer-centric approach and encouraging co-creation deals with the second element.

According to Alvinesh Jugun, “In the case of Harel Mallac Technologies, for any given idea, the incubator has to, each time, test for its two leaps of faith assumptions: the value hypothesis (whether the product or service is of value to the customer) and the growth hypothesis (whether customers will adopt the product or service at pace)”. Depending on the results obtained, the team may decide to either enhance the idea or pivot in another direction.

“There is no doubt that advances in these areas will engender profound changes in our society and at the workplace. Hence an Innovation Incubator is the best way to prepare for these changes”. 

After only one year, the Innovation Incubator has successfully nurtured a number of internal initiatives in the fields of Fintech, IoT and Big Data Analytics which should hit the market in the coming months. These engineered solutions are aimed at tending to customers’ needs.

According to Alvinesh Jugun, “Irrespective of technology, the ability to solve a user’s problem is what matters more. This is where we have the knowledge and expertise to help organizations identify essential issues and build proper roadmaps”. Harel Mallac Technologies remains true, once again, to its pioneer spirit in the technology sector in Mauritius by adopting and taking to the market the latest and most innovative tools and methodologies.