Cash is king but innovation is god

Prashanth Hebbar, Knobly Consulting

How will you do things differently in 2012? Dare caught up with LC Singh of Nihilent Tehnologies and Hanuman Tripathi of InfraSoftTech on some tips. Here are the excerpts:

LC Singh is an IT industry veteran who began his career at TCS. He led Zensar as CEO and founded Nihilent in 2000.

Singh was steadfast in his belief that

  • Innovation should not suffer especially in adverse times.
  • Don't run out of cash

We have heard this before and we know that it is the classic Catch-22 situation. Singh clarifies, "Innovation need nto be a product. Finding a new market can also be innovative." That's when the complete import of "innovation" actually hits us. Being resourceful, doing things differently, looking at hitherto unknown sources of income all qualify as innovation. Asking an advance from the customer who usually pays on time is also an innovation. And by that definition, innovation is open to engineers, marketers and accounting professionals.

Singh talked about how Nihilent decided to stick to emerging markets alone for its business and ignoring the US and much of European markets. This is innovative marketing strategy.

Singh also adds another caveat to this:

  • Build capacity to replicate innovation.

Today when everyone wears innovation on their shirt sleeves and takes it to be their family silver, building capacity is an alien concept. Sharing best practices means, to many, giving up competitive advantage.

Singh's mantra is to break down the walls between departments which get put up so that knowledge flows up and down the aisle.

Tripathy came up with an amazing insight into starting up. We have heard from the VC domains that they prefer atleast a two-member founding teams to funding a project. Tripathy gave a framework to this. "Taking a partner is like building another load bearing pillar."

Tripathy's mantra can be applied to every new hires in a startup. Unless you are sure that someone can take on load (responsibility and accountabilty) over a particular portion of the business, don not bring them on.

The second mantra given by Tripathy is: "Get benchmarked by a large consulting agency." In today's crowded marketplace, an endorsement from a globally well known agency will help your customers invest in you.

(This article is from Dare Archives: Year 2012.)