The Human Face Of Innovation

By Mohan Krishnaraj, VP and Global Head, User Experience, Harman International


Coming from a design group, quite often Mohan Krishnaraj is asked as to how does he design something that is more concentrated towards customer experience? How does he empathize with the customers? What do you innovate as designers? What do you look at when you look at empathizing when you do a lot of experience design or customer experience design? How does he innovate?

He says while the Technology has its own innovations, he and his team are tasked with looking at how they can make it more humanized; how they can humanize the technology and how they can restrict too much technology.

He then took the audience through a short introductory video explaining exactly what Harman International does - how the design experience. While designing experience, how do they innovate.

Camaraderie is the main aspect of innovation says Mohan Krishnaraj. But how do you get people to innovate more when it comes to the subject of camaraderie. He says it is about a mutual trust, a friendship which goes beyond teams, beyond consumers and customers.

Innovation has no limit, it is clearly uncertain. Nobody knows what is going to come next. Teams are very important, they need to have a mutual trust in order for them to share ideas with each other. It’s also about the consumer and customer. How often does a customer go back to a brand saying this is how you can fix yourself? Nobody in real time interferes from a brand perspective; but can brands really instill that camaraderie into consumers. Can they belong to the brand?

The answer is, yes they can and it has happened in many cases such as the sainsbury one where they changed the name of a bread that was suggested by a 3 year old girl. While the marketing team was completely trying to innovate; on ideas for the best way to campaign. The name change turned out to be the best way for them.

Mohan Krishnaraj also added that Radical Candor is very important; bridging the gap between customer expectations and experience divide.

He further adds that he gives his team suggestions that might come off as rude but that is what is the customer expectations are and that is how his team succeeds and it is better than the customer actually coming back and saying the same thing.

Teams need to innovate with consumers and not take it easy so that idea liquidity happens. It is just like the barter system; that comes with a mutual trust. But how do we identify the risk involved in this?

Risk is driven by Trust. The iteration to this is the need to shift from MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to MLP (Minimum Lovable Product) according to Mohan Krishnaraj.

He ended his talk by saying Empathy is a common denominator to make it a good experience. It’s what people want, brand should always put people first.

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