HackerEarth believes in solving critical business challenges through data-driven and people-centric innovation processes. It provides enterprise innovation software to fuel your business growth.
Sachin Gupta, CEO of HackerEarth, speaks more about enterprise innovation. Excerpts:
BW CIO: What is the need for internal innovation within enterprises?
Sachin Gupta: Innovation is a means for preservation. It has become evident that for any company to survive, it has to constantly build new solutions and applications to stay relevant in the market. New companies are defying all odds to compete with well-established companies being run on the same model through generations.
Internal innovation is a way for companies to leverage the expertise and knowledge of their own employees, who best understand where the gaps lie. Creating an internal innovation unit can be an asset as its sole purpose is to drive innovation at every level of the organization. Also, for knowledge diffusion and organizational learning, internal innovation initiatives can contribute a great deal.
Internal innovation campaigns promote employee engagement and haste new product and process development through an ongoing feedback system. They break down silos and boost collaboration between units. Internal innovation also gives greater control over the entire process as there are no external parties involved.
Often, there is a void between the front-line executives who face and understand the customers’ problems and the people in charge of product development. When this gap is bridged, innovation is faster, agile, and more meaningful. From 3M's Post-it to Sony's Playstation, there are plenty of successful innovations that were once just ideas lurking in the corner of an employee's mind. Harnessing these dormant ideas by providing a platform can solve the need for robust pipeline of big ideas, which according to Ernst & Young study is faced by over 70 percent enterprises in Asia-Pacific and over 50 percent in America.
We have witnessed this first-hand in our clients' organizations. One of our clients, a global technology company, over a period of 2 years, witnessed,
* 400 percent increase in the number of ideas over a period.
* 19 percent of the total ideas contributing to the product roadmap.
* 6 percent of the total ideas contributing to the process improvement.
* 18 percent increase employee engagement and collaboration.
This particular organization provided ample time for the new initiative to mature and yield results.
BW CIO: Which are the new sectors adopting hackathons (BFSI, FMCG, etc.)? Tell us a bit about your experience with such customers.
Sachin Gupta: We have observed that in the past year, a lot of our hackathons have been conducted with FMCG companies and banks. Our data shows that in 2017, 23 percent of our challenges were done for fintech companies. We are also seeing new sectors adopting crowdsourcing to manage their internal and external innovation.
Last year, we conducted two hackathons for a large public sector bank. The two campaigns, Code for Bank and Digitize for Bank, had some interesting problem statements and participants had to find solutions around facial recognition, signature recognition, voice-based authentication, and cheque truncation value enhancers among others. Banks have traditionally shied away from such challenges, but, in the last two years, there has been an increase in the number of BFSI hackathons we conduct.
Even in the FMCG sector, we worked with some large conglomerates such as the Future Group. This sector faces the threat of extinction in the next decade as more and more consumers are going online. Most of the consumer brands we worked with are trying to crowdsource solutions that would help improve the customer experience at retail stores and ease the process of selection and purchase to keep customers coming back.
BW CIO: How has HackerEarth's Sprint platform revolutionized innovation management
Sachin Gupta: We have recently announced the launch of our next-gen innovation management software, Sprint 2.0. It will help organizations solve key business problems by crowdsourcing solutions from internal stakeholders such as employees, partners, or customers or from external communities like the HackerEarth developer community. The new avatar of Sprint leverages the contextual intelligence it has gleaned from running more than 1000 internal and open innovation campaigns.
Sprint is currently being used by more than 500 customers including MNCs, banks, IT companies, and e-commerce companies. We also host a global network of top developers which companies can tap into through Sprint to generate ideas and solutions. GE, IBM, Wipro, Walmart Labs, and Bosch are some of the companies using the product.
BW CIO: What are your plans for the future, expansion into other markets, and the launch of new products?
Sachin Gupta: We have already launched our new offering this year: Startup Connect. Under the Startup Connect program, large enterprises can host innovation challenges for business problems that they are trying to solve. Startups can participate in these challenges and match their existing product/solution to the given problem statement or modify their solution accordingly. This can lead to startups getting adopted or incubated by these large enterprises.
We entered the US, European, Japanese, and Chinese markets over the last two years. The reception of our innovation management software has been really good, and we will be growing organically and increasing our footprint in the coming years.
Product-wise Sprint will become more intelligent through the addition of Machine Learning and AI components. We will soon be launching this version of Sprint, which is capable of identifying more quality ideas and segregating them from thousands of submissions, thereby reducing the time-consuming manual process of idea evaluation.
We are also actively customizing the product for different verticals such as healthcare, automobile, retail, and so on.