21 Feb 2018, 08:43 — 4 min read
When I googled ‘innovation’, I was confused by the wide range of information I got. Instead of referring to what others say, let me write about my own experience with regards to innovation.
From the very beginning of my career, I have been passionate about innovation. Being like this, I have stepped upon some toes and must confess that I have not always succeeded in implementing many of my innovative ideas.
What is innovation
The first thing I would like to state about innovation is that the idea must be ‘sold’ or conveyed persuasively to all stakeholders, or else an innovative idea can find itself getting assaulted even if it is useful.
Innovation and ‘out of the box’ thinking can be said to go hand-in-hand. When conventional methods do not yield the desired results, a thought process which is entirely different can bring in magic.
This was our experience with regard to automation of manual work and I will try explaining this without violating any confidentiality clauses.
Our client was a large bank that mainly dealt with corporate customers who had to fill various types of forms to transact business. Information in these forms had to be re-entered in the banking system by the bank staff. Not surprisingly there were delays and errors, financial losses and poor customer service.
Our innovative solution was to use barcodes.
Software was developed especially for customers who would prepare application forms on their personal computer. The contents were printed by a laser printer and these contained barcodes. For customers, these barcodes were meaningless; but for the bank they were the most important part of the application form. When the completed form reached the bank, a scan of these barcodes copied the contents of the form directly into the banking system. Data entry was avoided and errors were reduced to the minimum.
One may ask, what is so unique about this? Well, the barcodes were designed to hold information spread in four pages and were not the simple product ID barcodes that we find in retail items.
Importance of persuasion while innovating
Was the implementation a simple task? You may be surprised to learn that it took us more than six months to convince our customers to use the software. The idea was innovative but customers had to be educated and convinced of its benefits.
We realised that it is not enough to just be innovative, but also to market the innovation.
Even before I discuss an innovative idea with my potential customers, I try to understand their needs first and see how my idea can provide a solution.
An innovative idea may augment an existing process or product or may disrupt it altogether. Change is always painful, and when innovation is going to bring about a ‘change’ to existing processes or systems, one has to be very careful while implementing it.
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Posted bySridhar Narayanaswamy
Managing partner of Innovatus Systems, founded by him on January 1, 2013. Sridhar is a result oriented professional with over four decades in the Information Technology &...