Bhaskar N Raju, Divyasree – India’s Transformational Leader 2019
Interview: Bhaskar N Raju, Managing Director Divyasree
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
The ever-present need to push the envelope; to develop better, smarter and greener; to stay relevant; this I feel is the single most important driver for us at DivyaSree, and for the industry as a whole.
This necessity has influenced industry trends and certainly acted as a catalyst in our journey of growth, steering the company to do things differently than others; to pursue innovation; to selectively seize opportunities; to decide to expand our footprint across the southern markets of the country. The informed demand of clients familiar with international standards has also influenced our decision-making and methodology – we’ve introduced futuristic concepts throughout our process, from designs concepts to materials to execution to delivery and beyond, so as to make the spaces we develop more focused on user experience and delight.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
To single out a particular step in an eventful journey would be difficult, since every day at DivyaSree has been truly memorable. I would however make special mention of the following: Our first foray into the development space itself; our very successful drive towards multi-city, multi-asset growth; our ventures into the international SEZ space as a pioneer; our collaboration with governments; the lead we took on developing our much-sought-after townships; and most of all the singular and enduring partnerships we have built and sustained with several multi-location corporate clients. In fact, DivyaSree has achieved 99% occupancy across its portfolio which caters to over 150,000 employees, including 8 Fortune500 companies, and over 65 Blue Chip clients!
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
Our CSR Policy is designed to take social/ economic responsibility for the welfare and sustainable development of communities in and around DivyaSree’s areas of operation, and it meets need-based requirements in other parts of the country. We are also conscientious about the environment in which we and our stakeholders live, work and play, and it is no wonder that we have been the recipient of several LEED certifications from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). We intentionally focus on the environmental side in our CSR activities, considering it a sacred obligation to preserve and conserve for the future. This is evidenced by our advocacy of sustainability measures like flexible heating and cooling solutions, monitoring and regulation of power consumption, deployment of energy-efficient electrical appliances and sanitation fixtures, and several other ways to conserve and efficiently use natural resources.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
For me it has been very simple: Always move forward and upward, keep learning, and never ever give up.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
Would not prefer to elaborate, but there are several projects that are close to my heart that I offer my resources of time, talent and treasure to help make life better for others. The environment is also something thing that I endeavor to support through CSR activities, while responding to requirements as and when called upon to do so. I consider it a sacred obligation to preserve and conserve for the future.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success is when you are more relevant to your customer than the competition, and thus attract accolades both as a leader and as an organisation. I’d like to allow a few of our clients to speak here:
“Your professionalism and customer-centric obsession has truly distinguished DivyaSree Group.” – Juggy Marwaha, Jones Lang LaSalle
“Your team has helped create immense value for clients and establish lasting partnerships.” – Ram Chandnani, CBRE India
“The involvement of the entire management team in ensuring end-to-end support is truly commendable.” – N. Krishnaswamy, EYGBS (India)
“DivyaSree became the obvious choice for us with their willingness to support our unique needs, and a never-say-no attitude.” – Venkatramana B, Landmark Group
Talk about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
As property developers, we are acutely aware of the changing needs of an evolving economy and ecosystem, and we evolve by incorporating customer feedback, suggestions and even vision. ‘Doing more with less’ is not simply applicable to a single project or solution; it must become part of corporate policy. So we continually explore avenues to harness exciting technological advancements to create automation, resource management and other systems that enhance cost effectiveness, comfort, quality and sustainability. There are and will continue to be advancements in technology, so to embed excellence into each of our successive projects, we stay ahead of the curve by adopting new technologies, adapting them to suit, and incorporating them. Innovation being in our DNA, we welcome such breakthroughs as aids to achieving our vision: That of delivering world-class spaces that are not just functional and cost-effective, but also intelligent, disruptive and experiential.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Leading by example, not just for a time, but all the time.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/ can contribute for the same?
An empowered society is healthy, happy and above all, sustainable. Our industry is seeing a move away from the beaten path, towards more environmentally sound practices. Sustainability has become the focus globally, not only for the real estate industry but also for its customers. Hence, there is an increased need to embed sustainability throughout the development process, right from the design stage to the construction stage, and even through service and maintenance stages.
For example, design decisions (like optimizing air flow and natural lighting to minimize electricity consumption) influence the sustainability performance of the construction, operation and maintenance phases. Designing of room size considering tile size can reduce the number of tiles wasted in construction. This is value engineering at relatively lower costs, at the design stage itself. Similarly, the contracting, planning, construction and control phases can be addressed to ensure sustainability, and this has a greater impact on the finished project, resulting in long-lasting benefits for all stakeholders.
Many of DivyaSree’s developments have been awarded the coveted LEED India Gold and Silver ratings, further endorsing our belief that sustainability not only makes our developments more efficient and economical, but is also in the best interests of our customers and the environment. Small steps that can, if adopted across the industry, make a sizeable difference to the big picture of societal empowerment.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
The industry is on the right track, I feel, with its drive towards cleaner and greener methods. I would like to see more emphasis on and initiatives towards housing for all/ affordable housing.
Whom do you owe your success to?
I have received life lessons from many people and situations. It would be inappropriate to attribute my professional success to one (or a few) of these. I believe that I have learned the most from mentors through my career.
Best thing about your job?
At DivyaSree, we do it all; all day, every day. And there is always something new to learn, to experience, to create, to develop. The excitement never stops, and the satisfaction of exceeding expectations never fails to uplift.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/ leaders?
Stay relevant to your customers. Stay attentive to their requirements. Stay focused on your goals.