Thought Leader

Innovation is a Journey and there are no Shortcuts

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Innovation is very strategic for us.

Innovation and Excellence are the two pillars on which our new growth story is being built. These are being cultivated as part of our culture with the whole environment gearing up in support.

What is Innovation (and what it is not)?

The biggest task in undertaking a journey around Innovation is to dispel various myths associated with it.

Many believe it to be the responsibility of R&D or specific functions tasked out for the purpose. They must understand that innovation is not the same as invention and that it is not a few people’s responsibility.

Rather, it’s a way of life, looking at one’s immediate work environment and thinking how it can be made better. For example, someone raising invoices in the finance department may find an efficient, faster, and a more effective way of doing the job.

The culture must empower her to take proactive steps and undertake the change. That’s the vision of innovation we are in the process of building. Every member of the organization must think that innovation is meant for all roles, persons, and functions. It is not the task of a few.

Excellence is the competency part whereas innovation is the thinking part. If people can think innovatively and feel empowered to act on their ideas, excellence at individual, function and organizational level will be created.

Operationalizing Innovation

Creating a culture of innovation is easier said than done. It takes time to build a momentum that involves the whole organization and is sustained over time. Many organizations undertake it on a piecemeal basis, often representing an effort that is nothing more than a flash in the pan.

In our experience, innovation and excellence are being driven by communicating the vision repeatedly and creating a structural support so that it becomes a focus for each member. That structural support comes from making it part of every employee’s key result area in the performance management system. It gives them a platform to showcase the ideas that they have undertaken on the ground.

It takes sustained efforts at running the program for employees to start participating in the process. In our experience, the quality of ideas is maturing over time, thus reflecting the crystallization of the initiative.

Mainstreaming Innovation

Making it a part of PMS is one thing, but how does this help a breakthrough idea to surface and scale up for a bigger impact. We have decided to identify a few good ideas and publish them for others to know and promote those ideas so that they get adopted at a larger scale. If operationalization through PMS is one form of structural support to catch good ideas on the ground, promoting great ideas is another form of structural support to boost their benefits across the length and breadth of the organization.

Digital as the Fulcrum

Digital is a great enabler of innovation and excellence. While on one hand it helps measure, track, and monitor the multiple local-level innovations that people are undertaking, on the other hand it allows for continuous vision sharing and communicating updates with the larger organization. The idea is to scale up good ideas that are replicable across multiple customer engagements that our organization undertakes.

Transforming Core IT to Complete the Circle

Creating capabilities in the form of digital that enables an organizational drive on innovation and excellence requires a modern IT and applications foundation. It is required not only to discover and scale up innovative ideas but also to implement those new ideas, many of which are based on defining a unique use case for technology. Our journey started four years ago, with investments in modern compute and network technologies, business automation, integration, and cloud enablement. The circle shall get completed with capabilities to handle a multi-cloud environment with tight integration between domain-specific systems at the workflow and information levels.

Digital transformation means a holistic journey that starts with top-led vision, cultural change, structural enablers, digital enablers, and core IT transformation. It takes time, perseverance, and sustained efforts. And there are no shortcuts.

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