How CXOs Can Cultivate a Culture of Innovation and Drive Growth

Every day, a new app is released, new software is written, or a new version of a tech product is announced. To stand out and make an impact in the highly competitive tech industry, what becomes a key differentiator is INNOVATION. Research has shown that innovation strategy involves continual experimentation, learning, and adaptation, without which innovation efforts fail. While an effective innovation strategy is at the heart of every successful organization, it requires active leadership from the top, as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has stated, “The purpose of our leadership team is to bring clarity, alignment, and intensity.”

At CXOToday, we speak to some tech industry experts who shed light on the importance of innovation to thrive in this competitive world and how CXOs in tech can build a culture of innovation to create long-term value and build resilience in the face of crisis.

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“The business environment has become increasingly complex over the past two years with innovation acting as the pivot for all transformations that has taken place in the society. It is thus, imperative for companies to tap into innovative thinking to compress and minimize the cost, footprint and complexity of managing the dynamic workforce, data, and operations. In fact, a data-fuelled innovation is an essential step for businesses to add competitive intelligence within a thriving business model. Once organizations get their data management right, a culture of innovation and growth starts to take shape.
Additionally, executives need to anchor their leadership narrative to lead with transparency, application-focused and data driven culture. Innovation comes with the perfect synergy of different views and experiences, both internally and externally. Leaders can achieve this by dedicating resources for experimentation and establish a safe space to innovate within a culture of openness to not just drive employee experience but also up its product offerings and extend a superior customer engagement.” – Anshuman Rai, Area Vice President, India, and South Asia, Commvault

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“A right culture breeds innovation. It grooms unorthodox thinking which drives the mindset to adopt change as opposed to conventional thinking that does not often lead to new ideas or innovation. Innovative companies have a culture that supports embracing change, a culture that isn’t afraid to fail. In fact, they celebrate failure, learn from it, and move on quickly. The problem with innovation is that too often it tends to be about ‘me’, whereas it should be about building a ‘we’ culture. Great ideas do not always come from a particular team. An innovative work culture allows anyone with a great idea, to turn that idea into action, in a much simpler way. Also, innovation is born out of continuous learning. Therefore, learning should be a priority in an organization’s culture. Innovation is a continuous process and hence innovative companies put a lot of efforts into the areas of people, process and tools continuously to nurture innovation and make it sustainable.” Sanjeeb Patel – Director, Software Engineering, Sabre Bengaluru GCC

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“The pandemic has redefined the business landscape today, placing transformation and innovation at the very core of all operations. In fact, a culture of innovation holds the key to not only unlocking post-crisis growth but also empowering employees to anchor through uncertainties and achieve greater productivity. It is thus, imperative for companies to make the necessary and drastic changes in how a business thinks about its customers, its people, and its technology, to ensure it can survive beyond the twilight of the brands.

Reflecting a path of innovative thinking, a leader must imbibe empathy, creativity, and vision to guide the hybrid workforce and adopt technological solutions to drive maximum value for the business.This can be achieved throughconsistent learning, collaboration, and earning the trust of all stakeholders and the industry ecosystem, thus accelerating the growth of today’s dynamic enterprises and setting them apart.” – Suman Reddy, Managing Director and Country Head, Pegasystems India

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“The last two years have transformed the pre-defined norms of business operations and success in this era. A core of every company’s DNA, innovation has now become more important than ever in today’s world. With the dynamic business landscape and rapidly evolving customer requirements and engagements, businesses must imbibe the perfect synergy of technology and sustainability to stand out in the market. Business leaders must be committed towards innovation and promote an analytical and collaborative driven approach to gain optimum business value. This in turn will not only help the business gain a competitive advantage, but also reset the levels of employee engagement, customer success and a core product offering.” Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC

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“The pandemic has further demonstrated that we cannot predict the future. However, we can prepare for a future which is becoming more unpredictable. While today the focus of healthcare is on treating diseases, but in the future, it will be more about preventing them. The endeavour will be to make healthcare more personalized, more precise, more preventative, and more supportive. We are preparing to address the challenges of tomorrow with today’s innovations. Creative minds across the world are tapping into the potential of technologies around patient twinning and precision therapy while harnessing the power of digital, data, and AI technologies. These innovations are creating new value and advancing us towards a world without the fear of disease.” – Dileep Mangsuli, Head, Development Center, Siemens Healthineers

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“The Information age has morphed into the Innovation age. In the Information age, technical skills were the keys to success. Knowledge workers applied their technical skills to digitize, automate, optimize and remote-enable work. The Innovation age is all about bringing new ideas to life. Mere technical skills are not enough. To be successful in the Innovation age, you will need to see the big picture, think creatively, take risks, learn from failures, and become good at socializing your ideas. Businesses that develop a culture of innovation will be the disruptors rather than the disrupted.” – Ranga Shetty, General Manager, Granicus, India

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“Innovative companies are those that deeply understand and empathize with their customers, have an eye on the future, and are not afraid of trying out and encouraging new ideas. They are not innovative by accident but by design and by inculcating the culture at the grassroots level in the organization. While the foundation of innovation remains in understanding the customers’ journey, with the ever-changing technology and business landscapes, a continuous cycle of unlearning & re-learning, and agility to prototype new ideas faster are the key enablers for success.” – Sridhar Krishnamurthy, Head of Data Analytics and Engineering, Brillio

 


“The integration of technology as companies increasingly create scalable inventions and launch on to the next phase of exponential growth is often compelling. However, mastering the art of innovation is a firm-wide process that institutes a robust invention process. Spreading the culture of innovation is equally important as the innovation cycle. It is a source for companies to define the future, build efficiency, drive productivity, and differentiate to fill a higher variety of needs. Innovation is often a journey to the unknown. Rather, developing a holistic view of the future and creating hypotheses on the future of business, need to drive organizational goals and allow employees the freedom to apply their thoughts. By exploring various drivers of change and involving different levels of employees to think outside the box, innovation can propel an organization and deliver a strategic competitive advantage.” – Jayesh Nema– Director, Product Management (Tech) at Blackhawk Network India

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