It’s Time to Innovate | Nishanth Ramesh | Cognizant

Hello, everyone. My name is Nishanth Ramesh, I’m currently working as a Strategic Business Development Partner for intelligence Practice at Cognizant. Having spent more than 13 years in the corporate world across consulting, strategy and business development, alliances and marketing,thought leadership and public speaking, I strongly believe innovation is what separates each of us and enables us to create a niche for ourselves.

I’m sure many of you would have heard something similar. During the initial phases of covid-19 pandemic, many of us didn’t even step out, but we all like vegetables fresh and the vegetable chopping knife sharp. Small businesses like vegetable sellers, among many others, started using these recorded voice overs on a mouthpiece to call out what they’re selling, and the audio was well heard by someone who stays even on the fifth floor of an apartment. With just an initial investment of a thousand rupees, they managed to attract more customers. Like Thomas Edison said, if there’s a way to do it, better find it, and these sellers just did, and so did many others who managed to innovate during the crisis. They survived and are growing. Crisis is not new to any of us, and it does come in all sizes. Many companies that are now household names like Apple, Airbnb, Uber, Disney were founded during the Great Recession. Solving a problem is the heart of innovation, but in a crisis situation, you don’t get a lot of time to innovate. You have to be fast paced. Look at how many pharmaceutical companies could do research, innovate and come up with a vaccine to covid-19. During crisis predictability, efficiency and stability really takes a toll. Some of the grocery chains who were quickly able to scale up and take up to the sudden spike in demand and they survived the crisis and of course, grew multi-fold. Success of the organization depends on innovation of clients,of people and organization as a whole. With remote working,the whole sales process changed, going all digital. Many companies were thinking to go digital before covid-19 now want to accelerate to digital quickly because their customers are going digital as majority of their workforces are Gen z and millennials. For the organizations to successfully innovate even during the crisis situation, I’d like to share a few thoughts based on my learnings and unlearnings.

First, be agile. Definitely, change is not easy, but we should be open to change, the old rule book may not work in the modern context, because more and more businesses are embracing digital technologies to offer products and services to their customers. We have to make the most of the change. And very quickly.

Second, be adaptable. Get an outsider perspective on what is working and of course, also on what is not working, so you can find many opportunities to innovate, let your people come up with ideas, motivate them. You never know an idea that sounds stupid, maybe the one that solves one of your biggest problems. Once you know where you want to get to, plan your strategy around that. New Normal is perhaps the most used phrase among corporates during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the organizations are quickly figuring out ways to adapt to this new normal.

Last communicate, give your people a purpose and communicate with them on how you are dealing with the crisis and be honest about it. Gen Z really likes honest conversations. Fitness centers started offering online classes, many hospitals adapted to telemedicine, students adapted to online classes with better collaboration, even some of the in-person art exhibitions happened online. I was a frequent visitor to one of the annual art exhibitions that happens in Bengaluru, and this year I was amazed to see that the team managed to hold an online exhibition, which we all loved.

Also, in the last few months, many startups came up with brilliant innovations, ideas that could change the lives of millions and billions of people. I’m personally excited for some of the startups who are focused on sustainability based products because they are solving a unique problem with a cause. The moment businesses go digital, they have a lot of data unless they know what they want to do with it, and how, their business model may not sustain. Innovation helps you turn the chaos into catalyst. Companies that proactively manage Covid like crises will emerge stronger than those that assume an eventual return to business as usual. To help, we at Cognizant have created a series of offerings for companies that are ready to bounce back and leap forward. Virtual workplace, software engineering, data modernization, cloud acceleration, marketing operations, safe buildings are among the many offerings that we can offer. You can visit our website to learn more. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank  T-Hub Foundation for providing me an opportunity to share my thoughts and perspectives on innovation in the times of crisis. I wish all of you the very best and keep innovating. Thank you. And I do hope this podcast is helpful for all of you.