Case Study: Renesas

Helping to enable India’s Smart City

The Unseen Hero Part Of Your Everyday

The recent torrent of tech advancements seems to have everything better and smarter – smarter phones, smarter workplaces, smarter living. Yet hidden in all our latest gadgets and devices, unnoticed in the hubbub over glossy screens and sleek exteriors, are dozens of tiny chips and processors that make giant systems tick. As one of the world’s largest makers of microcontrollers and semiconductor systems for mobile phones, Renesas Electronics has been a true unsung hero powering the most cutting-edge technologies in our lives.

Leading the smart city-push in India

As a leader of the major tech industries and champion of new advancements in microcontroller and semiconductor integrations, Renesas organizes annual DevCon conferences in major territories – high-stakes, widely-attended events where they offer a peek into the short-term future possible with the prospect of their cutting-edge innovations.

In (month) this year, we were tasked with a huge mission – to help craft a compelling and smashing keynote presentation for DevCon India 2016, where Renesas India was set to:

  1. Showcase their new line of innovative solutions that have been proven to work in more developed markets like the United States to begin their next push in India,
  2. Offer their expert perspective to the attendees on how the industry as a whole can piggy-back on India’s latest political reforms and industry trends to grow their businesses and the economy in tandem collectively.

Can a technical speech be captivating?

In our line of work, we commonly see intelligent, visionary professionals and leaders struggle when it comes to distilling their high-level ideas into simple insights easily understood by the layperson.

With an inventive company like Renesas that had a lot to both sell and give, we had to be very careful to not let ‘what they sell’ overpower ‘what they enable’. Sure, Renesas sold chips, but the platforms and solutions they brought to the table proved to mean much more. They had the microcontrollers and know-how to make smart home innovations possible, but they also wanted to make innovation possible.

Sunil Dhar, the President of Renesas India, had so much to offer, and we were going to help him speak straight to his audience.

A new story for a different audience – knowing our audience

The difference between Sunil’s usual audience in developed economies like the United States and the crowd at DevCon India meant that we had our job cut out for us in profiling the attendees and conveying our message in a way that would speak to them.

We realised that the general bulk of attendees had the tendency to be averse to ideas that were too far-fetched and abstract. In our years of experience, we often see intelligent, talented individuals struggle when it comes to distilling their high-level ideas into simple insights easily understood by the layperson.

The diverse audience at DevCon of partners, developers and management from businesses situated in different parts of the value-chain meant that harping too much on Renesas’s solution-to-market fit would prove detrimental to engaging the audience. Sure, Renesas sold chips, but the platforms and solutions they brought to the table proved to mean much more. They had the microcontrollers and know-how to make smart home innovations possible, but they also wanted to make innovation possible.

Sunil had so much to offer, and we were going to help him speak straight to his audience. We needed something that everyone in the room could relate to in an emotional way regardless of their occupation, position or previous experiences.

A Shared Dream or Uniting Problem

After conducting thorough research on the state of India, it was obvious to us that India’s new Prime Minister Modi is taking a big step in the direction of investing in a country-wide technological push towards a smart nation and the result that would follow: a large, bustling economy.

The Indian government had introduced a lofty and ambitious goal of growing their domestic economy fivefold towards a $10trillion economy. This was a bountiful opportunity, and a big gap to fill. The looming threat of falling short was all too real. Bridging such a gap is simply impossible without the collective effort and collaboration of the organizations operating within the country and the state that supports this growth.

In short, the arduous trek towards a $10trillion economy could just be the perfect story to emotionally unite the audience and open them up to bigger ideas.

If they decide to work together with Renesas and its partners to ride the wave, everyone wins. If they choose to sit still and move slow, this chance would pass the right by.

“for them to cross cultural and geographical boundaries and talk about India, that was fantastic.”

Sunil Dhar , President – Renesas India

The rise of the Millennials (and their startups)

Our research about India further revealed that there are more than 600 million citizens in India below the age of 25. With technological democratization, there has been a dramatic shift of power from manufacturers into the hands of these tech-savvy consumers. Companies now have to tweak their product lines and offerings to appeal to the anticipated future needs of Millennials, instead of expecting consumers to accept whatever products they come up with.

Millennials are heading out to disrupt industries by creating solutions that don’t already exist for their modern needs. They can either be a great threat to established companies in the tech space, or valuable partners to co-develop solutions with.

Coupled with the rise of millennials, we are also seeing a growing startup scene to such an extent that Bangalore is now being referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.

These facts added another dimension to the Renesas India story on a micro level where decisions to pivot consumer and market strategies needed to be faster or the incumbents would lose traction to the younger generation.

“The backbone was all the research. The whole story had not just the story but a lot of evidence in it.”

Sunil Dhar , President – Renesas India

Disruption from Tech Giants

On the other hand, tech giants like Google are no longer sticking to their own verticals in the value-chain but venturing out into new verticals with products that can potentially make many companies and their offerings obsolete.

If we can present these companies as a looming Goliath, Renesas India can further build the impetus to act quickly to work with partners to innovate. The only alternative is to get devoured by the competition – big or small.

A future-oriented theme for Renesas

After locking-in the story, we proceeded to creating a simple and futuristic theme for the Devcon India presentation.

Zooming in from the big picture after completing our storyboarding, we found the most strategic places in the presentation to tie in Renesas’ trifecta of Smart Solutions: Smart Auto, Smart Home and Smart Industry.

When the products are seamlessly tied into the overarching story of Renesas India, they become the tools and roadmap to partnership, rather than forcing a sale like the overenthusiastic salesman that we are all too familiar with.

Sixth time’s the charm: Troubleshooting again and again

Great presenters and storytellers often make the process seem effortless, as though they were born to deliver nerve-wrecking keynotes. That is far from the truth, however, and Renesas India was no different.

Their story for DevCon went through 6 mini-overhauls before we managed to get it just right.

The biggest challenge was deciding on an overarching narrative theme to frame the whole keynote speech. We went through numerous iterations, removing ideas that were either too cliché or too abstract, constantly evolving from dialogue with Renesas and its users.

When we present data, it doesn’t connect, especially in an audience like a keynote speech. You need to be lighter, easy to convey the message, and that’s where pictures and stories are wonderful, they build up the bridge very easily.


Sunil Dhar – President at Renesas India

Delivery: Speed Through Partnerships

With the right set up of India’s economic climate as well as the cut-throat tech sphere that presents both challenges and opportunities, we framed Sunil’s keynote presentation with one big message: ‘The time is now, let’s move faster together’.

The message chimed down on the urgency of the current climate and sought to motivate Renesas’ partners to tap into collaborative efforts.

In the end, the range of solutions for a smart nation fit snugly in the gap that Renesas India’s president, Sunil Dhar, materialized as he shared his vision of a greater India built through a mutual partnership of the government and the industry. India has a dream, and in front of hundreds of people at DevCon 2016, Sunil has positioned Renesas to achieve this dream.

“It was beautiful. We connected with the audience wonderfully. I got compliments from the grassroots, very young engineers, the next day, talking about the details of my presentation…it meant that they were listening.”


Sunil Dhar – President at Renesas India

See Sunil in action:

“The result was beyond my expectations…I was getting confident progressively that I was going to match my dream presentation.”

Sunil Dhar – President at Renesas India

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