Rishad Premji | Outlook Business
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HIGH FIVE

“Create an ecosystem that encourages innovation at multiple levels”
Rishad Premji, chief strategy officer, Wipro on five ways to foster a culture of innovation

Make it easy to fail: Innovation teams today can leverage technology to enable simultaneous micro experiments, reducing the financial cost of failure. The professional cost of failure, however, needs to be addressed. A failed attempt at developing a product or business model should also be rewarded if the learning can help others succeed.

Hire diversely: Spotting talent that can catalyse innovation means looking beyond homegrown talent. This opens the door to diverse thinkers who might even upset the corporate applecart. Contrasting viewpoints, experiences, genders, cultures, etc. help foster innovative behaviour.

Facilitate scale: Innovation is not without risk, but it is important to spot failure early, pivot fast and switch resources to fuel the more likely bets. Strategies earlier used only by venture capitalists to develop start-ups to their full potential — such as metered funding and ‘pivot-or-persevere’ reviews — are equally useful in corporate innovation.

Measure differently: Each innovation project has its own trajectory — not all fit the classical hockey stick curve. They cannot be measured with the same yardstick as other growth investments. To nurture these projects, create metrics that validate the assumptions and create valuable learning.

Encourage partnerships: A single company cannot master all domains. As borders blur, start-ups, accelerators, universities and even customers will share common interests and create new value chains. It is vital to create an agile ecosystem that encourages innovation at multiple levels.

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