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“Ventures and New Business work like ninjas!”

12 JUNE 2024

Harsha Raju is a man on a mission to transform ideas into sustainable business opportunities. While also driving circularity, Scania’s Head of Strategy - New Initiatives & Funnels Ventures and New Business is making waves in supporting the company’s vision.

With a background in design, product development, strategy, and business model innovation, Harsha brings a blend of creativity, strategic vision, and hands-on leadership. His role is instrumental in laying the groundwork for innovation within Scania. “It’s not just about having ideas. It’s about making them a reality.” 

Shaping the future at Scania

Harsha  spearheads strategy and circularity initiatives, driving the company's future-focused goals. He identifies and nurtures new business opportunities through a collaborative approach, emphasizing cross-functional teamwork and innovative thinking. “We aim to build transformative businesses that will become the new core of Scania,” he explains. “It’s not just about maintaining our current success but about looking ahead and staying ahead.”

From sketching cars to steering strategy

But as a student, Harsha was more inclined towards creative professions. Still, like most Indian kids, Harsha was nudged towards Mechanical Engineering. Struggling through his course, he found himself sketching cars during all his lectures. This passion led him to India’s best design school, where he found his true calling — in automotive design. After an internship, Harsha joined an American company for a six-month stint. This turned into seven years, where he built and led a design team, marking the beginning of his journey in leadership.


His career took another leap when he was accepted to Harvard Business School. Harsha left his job, a decision that paid off when a classmate connected him with Scania, and Harsha quickly integrated into the team. "I really liked the team and vision, and they really liked me and wanted me to join, and that's how it happened," he says. He moved to Stockholm, endured his first Swedish winter, and there has been no looking back since.

What about circularity

Another special interest of Harsha is the circularity initiative that he heads. “A colleague of mine nailed what we do at Ventures and New Business, saying: ‘we need to work like ninjas! Be in the shadows, have zero pride and be the catalyst that helps grow an idea or an opportunity’. I think that pretty much sums it up.” This ethos was key in establishing Scania's Circularity Centre. Following months of research, Harsha's team uncovered that circularity was already an inherent, although unrecognized, practice within the company. With this insight, they crafted four dedicated work streams, and collaborated cross-functionally. Their approach was able to dismantle some silos, encourage team involvement, and nurture a spirit of healthy competition. 

On his experience of working at Scania, he explains, "Although I've been with the company for nearly two years, I will still consider myself new for the next five years! You'll understand why when you talk to people working at Scania. Despite the company's long history and growth, the employees' passion for ensuring Scania's success remains remarkably strong."