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Mumbai: Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla’s incubator for the next big ideas for growth is a bunch of handpicked managers scanning the globe, visiting diverse businesses and outfits for the next big idea.

These managers are going beyond the obvious businesses where the Aditya Birla Group is present and casting their net wider across different sectors and different locations. At present 150 managers are visiting facilities across sectors such as retail, manufacturing, chemicals, data analytics and e-commerce to get exposure to new and emerging trends.

Birla’s expectation from them: lightbulb moments and ideas that can be developed into new products, services and business lines.

Over the past two decades that Birla has been at the helm of the Aditya Birla Group, the business has grown 26-fold. Birla is now trying to move the group into the next phase of growth through existing and new businesses.

“We are taking everybody across the world to meet the leading companies and services providers who are doing breakthrough work… I don’t want a straight line growth—acquire and do more of the same... that is not the idea. And my view is that we have to take the signal from the environment," says Dev Bhattacharya, group executive president (corporate strategy and business development), Aditya Birla Group. “So that is how we are redesigning ourselves."

The globe-trotting managers could be meeting competitors and even business that have no relation to Birla’s existing portfolio of metals, fertilizers and chemicals, fabric and apparel, telecom, financial services and retail, according to Bhattacharya. For example, they could be visiting a water utility simply to see what path-breaking solutions are being developed and whether there are any learnings in there for Birla’s chemicals business.

The concept of the global exposure for managers is home-grown and doesn’t involve any consulting firm, says Santrupt Misra, director (group human resources), Aditya Birla Group. “The ideas they bring are all evaluated and debated for relevance, scalability and sustainability to decide what and when to implement the same," he says.

Birla has pinpointed future targets, but he is also prepared for churn and change, his top executives say. And it is all designed to hit the next revenue target of $65 billion in a few years from $41 billion now.

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