This interview is part of a regular IdeaScale spotlight series of our partners. In the past month, you’ve heard from OneLogin and HapYak, but today we are highlighting Advaiya – a digital consultancy that provides strategy consulting, technical and marketing content, training and evangelism, software development, staffing and creative services to clients around the globe. Last month, they hosted an IdeaScale Hackathon where Advaiya team members collaborated to build usable apps on top of IdeaScale technology. We had the opportunity to ask Manish Godha, CEO of Advaiya, some questions and you are invited to read the interview below to learn more.
IdeaScale: Tell me about yourself and your role at Advaiya
Manish Godha: I am a technology enthusiast and have always found the transformational impact that technology and business have on each other to be deeply fascinating. This has spurred the passion – which we share across Advaiya – around solution-oriented technology marketing, the business value of technology, enterprise architecture and technology-led innovation. These are all fundamentally connected aspects, which have always been our focus areas. I am working as the founder and CEO, to continuously provide high value services and products to our customers while continuously building our intellectual assets, viz., our people, partnerships, relationships, IP, capabilities and process maturity. I believe we are uniquely placed to enable organizations to grow and leverage their innovation potential. Our experience with innovation processes, relationship with IdeaScale, technology platform capabilities, and an overall orientation towards innovation make us a very valuable partner to organizations looking at enabling effective innovation.
IS: What is Advaiya and what distinguishes it from other consultancies?
MG: Advaiya is a technology, marketing and business consulting firm working towards our clients’ goals around technology led innovation, consumer experiences, marketing effectiveness and enterprise productivity. Our uniqueness lies in the ability to provide an empowered, managed and enabled combination of skills – technology, business consulting and creative. Our ability to effectively meet our clients’ goals is also derived from our vast experience of working for demanding large companies to highly innovative start-ups. We have had an excellent track record of rapid skilling in emerging technologies, new domains and innovative technology application.
IS: What is the Advaiya Hackathon?
MG: We organized an app Hackathon on Saturday, 27 July, 2013. This was sponsored by IdeaScale. Advaiyans were invited to team-up and develop new innovative apps on the IdeaScale platform. At the very heart, Advaiyans have been technology enthusiasts, and always welcomed opportunity to learn and create something new. This hackathon was aimed at providing a platform to showcase their skills related to innovation, development and creative, and highlight their caliber. With 10 teams participating (33 members in total) in the hackathon, the event saw huge enthusiasm. There was a palpable confluence of great energy, collaboration, patience, agility, and fun. Everyone showed extra-ordinary zeal in competing and turning their innovative ideas to real working apps. A range of thoughts were shaped to innovative apps including having sentiment analysis on ideas, SMS based submission of ideas, integration of IdeaScale with project management, IdeaScale chrome extension, real-time information visualization, social analytics, etc. Creativity and technical dexterity were imminently visible. Overall great fun, and great ideas!
IS: How has Advaiya made use of IdeaScale?
MG: Advaiya’s relationship with IdeaScale includes that of a partner, vendor and user. Our innovation practice leverages the powerful platform of IdeaScale to provide solutions to enterprises in this area. We act as resellers and consulting partner to IdeaScale for India market. We have also been working on a few projects around creating a bunch of extensions to IdeaScale particularly on Microsoft SharePoint. And, we have also been using IdeaScale internally to gather and discuss ideas around our key investment areas. Thus we have ongoing campaigns to gather what can be done to enhance our intellectual assets – people capabilities, or operating infrastructure and processes, for example. We have collected, discussed, and executed on many ideas including what marketing activities we should be doing and how we can better organize trainings. Advaiya also contributes to “Advantage Udaipur,” a program which highlights and facilitates innovative businesses in Udaipur and we have setup a public community on IdeaScale for this as well. We are collecting, discussing and, as ideas gain currency, involving the appropriate institutions to further them.
IS: How does Advaiya prioritize innovation in its solutions?
MG: Innovation has been one of the important pillars of our positioning and differentiation. We have been able to be innovative internally – build innovative solutions, add capabilities, engage in new conversations etc. – and been helping our clients with innovation projects. Our cultural orientation has been towards what we call, ‘something new and different’. We have worked for Microsoft, for example, to build new use cases around emerging technologies. We even created innovation management solutions covering the aspects of collection, prioritization, and execution. At all times, it has been largely informal and ingrained in how we approach any initiative. People come together, discuss ideas, and we naturally favor ‘something new and different’. But, we have also realized that we need to be a little more organized to be able to fully leverage these innovation tendencies. We have put in place internal tools and programs, like IdeaScale, social, hackathons, scheduled idea talks, etc. We are banking on IdeaScale platform to not just accelerate innovation at company level but also to drive innovation into our customer engagements, and solution initiatives.
IS: Any advice for companies looking to crowdsource?
MG: Three key factors: participation, recognition and execution. I do not believe that crowdsourcing would lead to great ideas immediately – it leads to great innovation by building a culture of innovation. What this means is overall and widespread recognition of need and empowerment to innovate, ability to build on each others’ thoughts, innate appreciation of business drivers and imperatives, and trust in the system. It is obvious thus it is critical to market the crowdsourcing initiatives across to community to gain attention and to engage. Recognition mechanisms within crowdsourcing platform (say, IdeaScale) have to be augmented with organizational and social activities like rewards, executive participation, inclusion in performance management processes and so on. And, most of all, if the crowdsourced ideas are not acted upon, the overall initiative will dither away. Visible execution with, possibly, participation of the contributors is vital.