The team at First Partners has been at the forefront of some of the most innovative award-winning communication campaigns in India. As part of the firm’s endeavour to promote thought leadership on topics of high interest to the corporate and communications fraternity in India, we have co-created Innovation First Communication Conclave, an annual Conclave Series on innovation in communication.

This annual series has been co-created in partnership with Reputation Today, India’s first magazine for Public Relations and Communications professionals promoted by The PRomise Foundation, organiser of PRAXIS – India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals.

The maiden Innovation First Communication Conclave was held at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram on 14th March 2018.

The event comprised of a key note address, two panel discussions and the release of a special, India-centric study on innovation – India Innovation Outlook Study 2018 – curated by First Partners.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Vishal Wanchoo, President and CEO, GE South Asia, who stressed on the importance of communication and how it is the bedrock of any organisation. He talked about his belief that communication is the basis of innovation in India.

When Arun Sudhaman, CEO and editor-in-chief, The Holmes Report asked about the changing perception of India as one of the most significant global markets, Vishal pointed out that India should now be thinking of how to make an impact globally.

First Partners released India Innovation Outlook Study 2018, a survey on innovation and communication. The key highlights and the results of the study were presented by Dilip Yadav, Founding Partner. The study put forth and tried to answer some important questions – What does Innovation really mean? What role does it play in organizations? How relevant is innovation today? Can communication lead innovation?

That was the question panel moderator Arun Sudhaman, put forth to kick off the discussion on ‘Does innovation in business have a connection with innovation in communication?’

Different perspectives on innovation were presented here. The participants were Ishteyaque Amjad (Coca Cola India), Paroma Roy Chowdhury (SoftBank), Jaideep Gokhale (Tetra Pak), Shefali Sapra (Danone India) and Ajay Davessar (HCL Technologies).

The second panel discussion was on ‘winning.’ The panellists focused on ‘Why innovation in business and communication is key to win in a complex market like India.’ Moderated by Pranjal Sharma (Author – Kranti Nation), the panel included Senjam Raj Sekhar (Flipkart), Sarita Bahl (Bayer India), Arun Arora (Cairn India), Jyotsna Ghosal (MSD India) and Shrutidhar Paliwal (Aptech Limited).

The concluding session was a special address by Vijay Menon, author of Innovation Stories from India Inc. He moved away from a communication-centric environment to a business-centric one and talked about how business innovation by individuals has helped businesses grow across India.


14th March – The Leela Ambience – Gurgaon
9.00 – Registration
9.25 – Welcome address
9.30 – Keynote Address – Vishal Wanchoo – President and CEO – GE South Asia
10.00 – Innovation in Communication – Presentation of the findings of a study by First Partners
10:30 – Tea Break
11.00 – Panel Discussion 1 – Does innovation in business have a connection with innovation in communication – moderated by Arun Sudhaman (The Holmes Report)


  • Ajay Davessar(HCL Technologies)
  • Ishteyaque Amjad (Coca Cola India)
  • Jaideep Gokhale (Tetra Pak)
  • Paroma Roy Chowdhary (Softbank)
  • Shefali Sapra (Danone India)
11.45 – Panel Discussion 2 – Why innovation in business and communication is key to win in a complex market like India – moderated by Pranjal Sharma (Author – Kranti Nation)


  • Arun Arora (Cairn India)
  • Jyotsna Ghoshal (MSD India)
  • Sarita Bahl (Bayer India)
  • Senjam Raj Sekhar (Flipkart)
  • Shrutidhar Paliwal (Aptech)
12:30 – Special Address – Vijay Menon – Author – Innovation Stories from India Inc.
1.00 – Closing Remarks
1.15 – Lunch

IFC 2018 - a glimpse