Vidya Priya Rao: the entrepreneur and the educator sermonizing design thinking and building a design-led innovation culture
The wide integration of markets all around the globe has ushered in golden age for entrepreneurship. What makes modern entrepreneurship very remarkable is that the entire landscape sees increasing participation from powerful and dynamic women entrepreneurs, who with their creativity, acumen, diligence and positivity are unlocking the chest of assets for their nation encouraging its economic growth and prosperity. The CEO Magazine recognizes Vidya Priya Rao – Founder& Director of InnovatusMarketers Touch point LLP as one of these gems shining in Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. An executive, a certified marketing and a sales coach and soon to be a PhD, Vidya is one of those very few visionaries who could gauge the significance of Design Thinking as a concept in metamorphosing enterprises and stimulate their growth in todays world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.At present, she is also engaged as a Visiting Faculty at N. L. Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research. She has been pursuing her Doctorate in Design Thinking from a leading state university.
Ambitious, Ambidextrous and Apprentice – the 3 As describe her best. An intellectual and a radical, Vidya keeps envisaging what could be done to make a better future for the world in context of current paradigm shifts. “I explore opportunities around me and then try best to leverage them. This involves looking at opportunities from diverse perspectives to arrive at the most appropriate area to work on. I am a goal oriented person. What I aim for drives me to keep my efforts devoted to do justice to whatever I am doing. To me, learning never ends. I personally feel there is something to learn and gain from every experience. It reflects in our actions and influences our decisions. Especially for a leader, learning should be on the go as it empowers him/herto get a deeper understanding of circumstances and develop better strategies as well as create more effective solutions. The apprentice in me always encourages me to be a better person and a better consultant.”
Vidya is one of those free spirited women who love travelling; she is an avid photographer and enjoys a deep connection with nature. She loves such temporary escapes that give her some time to rendezvous herself and she really finds them a great source of soul revival. She says, “When was the last time you stopped and watched the sun come up, or go down and just think alone, without your phone …” Though there have been many people who have inspired her time and again, her mother, Smt. Malati and late uncle, Shri Krishnakumar Thakur have been the guiding stars who have chaperoned her through all phases of her life and would always keep inspiring her.
Her brainchild, Innovatus Marketer’s Touch point LLP provides specialized consulting focused on digital transformation, design thinking and service design to drive sales and return on investment for an organization while ensuring superior customer experience for it. During a conversation with The CEO Magazine, Vidya speaks about the company, “We offer go-to-market and digital strategy consulting and help our clients rethink and redesign customer and employee value in the digital era. We offer design thinking workshops and consulting, tailored to enable, accelerate or transform our esteemed client’s business. Once onboard with a project, our team stays laser-focused on the problem at hand andclient’s opportunity space; and optimizing process to make design thinking and service design principles accessible to the organizational workforce enabling them to achieve improved outcomes.”The company’s avant-garde approach towards catering to critical complexities faced by businesses and deliveryof cutting edge solutions allows it tothrive as a part of niche leadership in the industry. Besides, Vidya’s rich experience across a broad spectrum of industries equips her dynamic leadership with a prowess to generate sans pareil solutions for players from diverse industries. The core team brings together some of the best minds in terms of qualification as well as experience in marketing and sales domain; a fact which bespeaks peerless expertise in increasing conversion rates and maximizing overall productivity along with enhanced performance. In such a short span of its journey, the company has bagged a number of large as well as small projects handing over impressive results to every client.
Vidya got introduced to design thinking way back in 2007 when it wasn’t introduced in India. During one of her assignments, she experienced a brief yet deep learning curve for Design thinking. “There were innovation workshop for clients that would focus on chopping out a long term plan taking into account their business plans and chalk out how could we add more value to the offerings as a consulting and IT services provider. Design thinking principles were leveraged to produce innovative solutions that would capacitate clients to lead the market.”
The expedience of the concept in the backdrop of fast paced growth of Indian economy interested her and sparked her passion for entrepreneurship. She says, “With rapidly advancing technologies disrupting business environments, organizations face several challenges across diverse functions. The rate of transition is so fierce that organizations which can catch pace with it would survive only. Businesses today are compelled to redesign, revamp and reshape their processes to stay ahead of the competition. In a digital era like this, buyer experiences a brand in a number of ways in their journey that encompasses product awareness, purchase, post purchase and evaluation. This has an immense significance in brand building and that is where design thinking has a significant role to play. Bringing in a touch of innovation to all facets of a business could make this interaction with its audience much better bringing to the table more meaningful products and services.”
With Innovatus Marketer’s Touch point, Vidya wanted to ignite a wave of transformation across organizations that would unlock their growth potential.However, deep insights into Indian market clearly revealed that the market wasn’t ready for such inventive approach. Moreover, Vidya felt a dire need for ready tool for broad implementation of the concept to fast track results. She says, “Design thinking as a technique is generally used in bits and pieces with cross-functional teams working together to deal with a complication and come up with proactive solutions.” This lacuna got her working on building comprehensive approaches and soon she could create a methodology that is assured to fetch the best outcomes as it would help organizations expedite their growth embedding design into their disciplines.With diverse insights into crucial aspects, she presents before the clients best possible strategies to sustainable and profitable growth and convinces them to maneuver their decisions towards the right track.
The motive of creating value for clients keeps Vidya impassioned about achieving excellence. She has spearheaded a wonderful journey that has not only established a brand but also pioneered a groundbreaking service standing at the vanguard of innovation.What comes out as a great sense of achievement to her is that she is able to contribute to the benefit of the society doing what she is passionate about. To her, that’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur. “How actively and practically I serve to address concerns of the people around me defines success to me”, she says. According to her, the decision of pursuing doctorate in the field along with her entrepreneurial journey has been the best till now. Apprising us of the reason she briefs, “Whatever I’ve been learning as a researcher has helped me in a number of ways to stand out as a consulting firm with the value that we can offer to our clients.”
Speaking about her vision for the company, she adds, “We have worked with proven models on multiple projects; have handled a variety of problem solving for businesses incorporating innovative techniques. Now, we are planning to take it to the next level carrying it to a larger audience in the country.” The company’s strategic roadmap includes promoting awareness of this concept to a lot more organizations and educating them about the wide array of benefits it has so that they can capitalize on all those opportunities that are missing out.