Business Of Sports: Innovation At The Core Of Universe
If we take up innovation in the Indian context, Flipkart has been innovative in its approach of leading e-commerce in the country
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If we made a list of companies that have made the biggest impact on our everyday lives, we would find that innovation is a common theme running through them. Companies like Apple, Google and Amazon have shown that it is innovation that helps make the biggest impact on customers and shareholders. Apple has been consistently leading innovation and pushing the boundary for decades. It has disrupted several industries and used technology to break barriers — be it in music, telecom or computers.
Google has an interesting story — it usually takes up an existing system, innovates on top of it and makes it multiple times better. Take example of search — there were many search engines before Google but Google made search more relevant and fast, thus changing the game. It did something similar with emails — people flocked to Google because it was fast, they could easily search their emails and of course, there was no limit on space! Google proved that innovation is not about just creating new things but also improving an existing solution.
If we take up innovation in the Indian context, Flipkart has been innovative in its approach of leading e-commerce in the country. Before Flipkart, people did not trust online companies with their credit card information; hence there were very few e-commerce transactions. Flipkart launched COD payment to gain their trust about e-commerce, thus helping the industry move from the legion of early adaptors to that of general mass. This helped several companies, including ours, to gain new customers.
At Lenskart, innovation is part of our DNA. For example, we have innovated our manufacturing process and now manufacture the lenses using robots, which results in accurate lenses. Similarly, using our Home Eye Checkup feature customers can book optometrists who visit them within two hours! With this, we are solving a problem not just for Lenskart but also for the entire eyecare industry.
So how does a company innovate? Innovation does not come naturally – it has to be introduced, nurtured and rewarded. There are several ways of doing this. I am sharing some that we practice at Lenskart.
Hiring: it all starts by hiring the right set of people. Focus on hiring people who are passionate about solving problems differently. People who want to learn something new each day. The second thing is to explicitly have learning as one of the key interview criteria while hiring.
Think and breathe innovation: During all our problem solving meetings, we challenge and push each other to see if we can come up with a better solution.
Nurture: Talk about innovation during your town-hall meetings. Share articles about other companies doing innovative things, setup small teams of people wanting to play around with new gadget, have Hackathons for developers to hack new solutions. A constant buzz about innovation helps people focus on it.
Reward: Recognising innovation and innovators is critical. Rewarding and recognising people in company forums and in their appraisals plays a vital role in promoting the culture.
For a company to become successful and the next unicorn, it has to constantly innovate, improve the existing systems and be better than the rest. Innovation has to become part of the psyche of the employees. And for this to happen, innovation has to become part of the company’s DNA.
Bansal is founder & CEO, Lenskart and Khandelwal is VP, Technology, Lenskart
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.