I recently had a session with a CEO of a digital commerce company, with around 300 plus employees. As part of the new initiatives, the company is ready to pump in money for innovation and build new products in the e-commerce space.
He wanted to explore the ways by which he can start the product culture in the company and also he wanted to discuss the failures they had in building some of their products.
That meeting actually triggered me to write about this.
Why innovation hubs of many of the companies fail in spite of having the best talents and unlimited funding?
Innovation is driven by passion and not via Dollars. So what is the trait of passionate people and companies? Being passionate requires hard work, dedication, willingness to fail over and over again, more than everything you have to be empathetic.
Because every innovation is solving some problem of a user. You can’t solve it unless you understand it. We have to be empathetic to find that “Why”.
So for creating empathy you have to put aside your own viewpoints and start seeing and feeling things from another person’s perspective.
Then you will be able to analyze the emotions, pains, and reactions of the other person.
In order to be innovative you have to Empathetic, both the company and every employee in the company have to be empathic to understand the pain of your users.
So you need to build this culture in the company, when you start practicing then you will realize that it is not easy to create an empathy culture. This has to come inside out because you cant call all your employees and declare that “ from today onwards we are an empathetic company, so from today we will be empathetic”. It is not possible.
When I ask the leaders and management team they all will say that they are empathic. But first, the employees should feel that management is empathetic to them and the leadership team should also have empathy and vision towards “why they are building what they are building”.
That empathy and vision should flow to all the employees. This is not an easy process it takes time, patience, and practice.
Once this is done then you have actually laid the foundation for innovation. Because once you feel the pain of the users you will think about innovative ways to solve that.
Till this point, “you are a group of people who are implementing a solution based on customer’s needs”.
This is the same point where you will transform yourself from a service mindset to a product mindset. That mindset is the key driver for innovation. As I said earlier this is only the foundation and then you have to build on top of this.
So, It’s not the dollars and manpower you need to build a product instead you need “Passion and Empathy”.