"It is not about money," Pham said about the startup experience. "Their salaries remain the same. It is about empowering them to take risks and recharge their careers. If they get it right, if they succeed, then their careers will be accelerated."
Besides running this competition, Tata Communications also holds smaller, very focused contests to solve specific solutions. The company uses a platform called Tata Innovista for pushing innovation, he said.
"Externally, we also go out and work with some venture capital firms," he added. "This could help us potentially identify new business trends. We can find companies that we may work with or partner with, in addition to potentially some financial benefits. In some cases we may invest in a company. For example, we recently invested in an artificial intelligence company."
According to Pham, Tata Communications will continue to run these innovation projects for five years or more, until the startup mindset seeps through the rank and file of the company's workers. It's a long-term goal that will help the company steer through a tough terrain of competition, and emerge as a frontrunner in its field.
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