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    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 1 Contents I. Topic .........................................................................................................................................................2 II.Title of the paper .....................................................................................................................................2 III. Abstract ..................................................................................................................................................2 IV. Introduction............................................................................................................................................2 V. Key Challenges......................................................................................................................................3 VI. Framework- ...........................................................................................................................................4 a. Focus team to lead the way - Innovation Champions & Innovation Teams......................4 b. Create a Sense of Competitiveness........................................................................................5 c. Track the ball - Status calls/meets at regular interval...........................................................5 d. Involve Senior Management – get the commitment .............................................................6 e. Set up Tools & Techniques.......................................................................................................6 f. Reward Creativity.......................................................................................................................6 g. Support Creativity.......................................................................................................................7 h. Utilize diversity among Employees..........................................................................................7 i. Create a positive Working Environment .................................................................................7 VII. Examples and Case Studies .............................................................................................................8 a. From the industry .......................................................................................................................8 b. From our own experience .........................................................................................................8 VIII. Quantified benefits...........................................................................................................................11 a. Benefits to business & the organization as a whole ...........................................................11 b. Benefits to the Process & Quality Management Group from the Framework.................11 IX. Lessons Learnt ...................................................................................................................................13 X. Critical Success Factor.......................................................................................................................13 XI. In Concluding......................................................................................................................................15 XII. Author & References details............................................................................................................16
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 2 I. Topic Theme of PM National conference - “Project Management - Bringing Certainty in Uncertain Times”. Topic chosen in this paper -> “Managing Innovations -> To unleash innovativeness in the project team” II.Title of the paper Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. III. Abstract If your job is to identify risks in projects, who identifies risk in what you do? If your job is to assure that projects perform in a defined framework, complies with a pre-defined set of processes, who decides if this framework or process is the best in the industry? This paper looks into the challenges & possible solutions to motivate a team who assures delivery from back end. A person who is often not a billable resource of a company; boosting their innovating spirits is a day to day hurdle, a leader of this team faces. How to unleash their innovativeness is a question that goes unanswered each day. In that context this paper also takes a look at how the organization in general benefitted. This paper demonstrates a structured framework that can be leveraged by corporate function groups (or a support group) like a Process & Quality Management group; across Software industry, primarily to achieve the parallel goals of boosting back end employees for Innovating and at the same time sustaining the drive. This also looks at how the organization in general gets benefitted. Firms focused on innovation proactively seek to identify and meet customers' needs. To identify the needs of internal customers & providing them with the delight still remains an area of struggle. Key differentiator - Research exploring connections between quality management, innovation, and company performance suggests that quality is ‘necessary but insufficient’ in business today. In short, managers need to know how to adapt their quality management practices to achieve innovation performance in addition to quality performance. So this paper is all the more important in the current scenario. IV. Introduction I like everyone else around had always thought that creativity is an inborn trait rather than something that can be learned and developed. But once I started leading a team of Innovators; I realized the big challenge - How much time, effort and resource do we want to devote to making things better (quality) versus making better things (innovation)? What framework could be most conducive to that? It is often very difficult to get a clear answer to this question, and of course the answer changes depending on market conditions, competitive actions and a host of other inputs. This is precisely what this article is
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 3 about, to look into ways which one can adopt in the workplace to encourage employees to seek innovation in their work & also the real life benefits that was received by embracing this framework. V. Key Challenges Big Questions: Back in 2008, with 100s of clients and over 60000 employees and with ambitious growth, the leadership team at Cognizant was struggling to arrive at a suitable approach. There were more questions than answers lingering in the minds of the Cognizant Innovation Group leadership team, which had little experience in managing innovation of this scale. Where to begin? - Start the innovation drive from the Top-Down or encourage, excite Bottom-Up force to innovate Where to innovate? - Outside-the-Box or Inside-the-Box How to spread the message of innovation? – Blast impersonal messages to everyone in the organization or create a multi-level network and spread the message with a personal touch; How to energize a growing organization with 1000s of employees to continue innovate? – Mandate everyone to Innovate (push model) or encourage people to realize their potential (pull model); How to measure the innovation impact? – Go after the big impact innovations or take into account even the small innovations with tiny impact; What to measure and how to communicate the progress? – Send flashy mails to everyone in the organization or use the power of informal networks; What kind of rewards and recognitions to provide? - Worship a few heroes or reward behavioral changes; What kind of people, systems, process and structures required to support this effort? – Build a large centralized innovation organization or go for distributed innovation teams using a leveraged model; What might be the cost to the organization? – Ask for big budgets given that everyone is spending big dollars or experiment using a small team with a small budget? To motivate people to Innovative itself is a challenging task. Process & Quality Management group team is so dispersed and deep into the risk mine with over 2000 + projects running at a given time, innovation is the last thing on their mind. Structured, process oriented, detailed approach has proven them right always, not always Innovations. And that this team is not into client facing job profile and does not contribute directly to the business of the organization is doubly challenging. Some of the basic challenges were –
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 4 1. Getting a team of dedicated Innovators from a team of non-billable resources. 2. With technical Innovation being the key word across the Software services organization, motivating a team to work on non-technical Innovation yet show considerable benefit was the next challenge. 3. Hardly having scope to do a Market Facing or Customer Facing Innovation – getting enough branding for the Innovations done was the next challenge. 4. Most Innovations being improvement of Process & providing delight to internal customer – calculating dollar value for that delight was another stumbling block. 5. Getting basic recognition from internal customers, who generally looks at the infamous Quality Assurance group as a fault finding & policing group, becomes next to impossible. 6. And of course the mid set of the team & the barriers that employees built up as seen in Diagram 1 provided even more hindrance to the path. Diagram 1 VI. Framework- To establish a congenial framework to encourage innovation, the following things were or are to be dealt with - a. Focus team to lead the way - Innovation Champions & Innovation Teams A more systematic way of promoting creativity in the workplace is to set up innovation teams led by an Innovation Champion. Each innovation team has to be tasked to come up with ideas on how to improve the work process of a particular aspect. They can be also asked to work upon their current pain areas &
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 5 come with Innovative Ideas to tackle with them. Deadlines are to be set, rewards to be given if they are excellent. When done properly, this will signal to everyone that the organization values work-related creativity. One catch is that such innovation teams may be seen as too ‘deliberate’ to some employees. Creativity is supposed to be spontaneous; ideas arising from the strokes of genius. Having such teams may make it seem like an extra chore for those assigned to them, and the systematic approach (i.e. the focus on a single topic) may come across as too rigid for creativity to flourish. b. Create a Sense of Competitiveness Once teams are set up it is imperative that we bring in a sense of competiveness among the team. To do so, a monthly or quarterly report showing the ratings of various teams & publishing them rank wise could be one alternative. Grading them in Red / Amber / Green zone could be another alternative way. The criteria for these ratings / grading / ranks however need to publish well before & team needs to be explained clearly on them. This will serve at least 3 purposes. (1) The ones working on it will get instant recognition as they will appear on top of list. (2) Ones appearing in lower ranks will take a deep dive & analyze the reasons for their ranks are low & work towards making it better. (3) Everybody gets sucked into the system as whether you like it or not; you are appearing in the published list anyway. But we need to keep in mind that competition is always a sensitive issue. Whenever an individual is rated low compared to his/her peer emotional feelings pent up. Team starts questioning the system, the method & the usefulness of it. Also this may put some undue pressure to many because Innovation cannot be forced as many feel. c. Track the ball - Status calls/meets at regular interval To establish the both way communication a status call/meet at regular interval is very essential. What the team is doing, what are the bottlenecks the team is facing, what help they might require, if they are working on the right direction or not is something that essentially needs to be discussed & brainstormed. Here one gets to know what the others are thinking or doing in terms of Innovation. This in turn motivates all to think & start Innovating, Inviting the topmost management in these calls also helps. Each individual team lead can present, talk about their Ideas & Innovations & their progress on it. The team thus feels important & the environment of Innovation is created in the organization. The fact that someone is interested to know what I am doing, what problem I am facing, someone is helping me in solving my problem & showing me right direction itself helps an individual to work much better. Doing this at regular interval keeps up the momentum. If getting everyone in a meeting room is a problem, organizing video conferences can also help to bridge the gap. The senior management is also benefitted by this – they get a bird eye view of what is happening in the organization & what the employees are thinking or doing thus getting a firsthand feel of the pulse of the organization.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 6 d. Involve Senior Management – get the commitment As is the case with any new initiative commitment from the senior management is very important for its success. And commitment not only terms of resources & sponsorship but commitment in being at the helm of things & leading from the front. To start with have the senior management talk about their problem statement, launch them as Campaigns, and get ideas from people all across the organization on how those problems can be solved. As the reach out is to all sector of the staff, this often leads to getting out of the box innovative ideas. This way the entire staff gets to know that even senior management has pain areas, they get the assurance that senior management has trust in them so they are asking for Ideas from them and finally senior management often gets unique ideas to solve their problem. Not to mention this also opens up new door of communication & people in general are more motivated towards Innovation. e. Set up Tools & Techniques Motivating teams without proper tools & technique is like trying to sail a yacht without a mast. For proper motivation & sustenance of Innovation supporting tools are extremely necessary & so is it necessary to enable team with correct technique. Training the people on how to think constructively & without going haywire is also a very important aspect of getting best in class Innovation for the team. For this different sessions need to be organized, sessions for thinking & apply brain writing session, apply 5 why methods, SCAMPER, Mind Mapping etc. However, some of the most creative ideas are born out of brainstorming sessions where a group of people discuss and debate about possible solutions to a problem. Also a tool needs to be set up to have all Ideas collected in one place. A place is required where campaigns can be launched to get solutions of Problems & Challenges. A place that will act as a repository. A place where Innovations can be documented & results can be tracked & recorded. If all these have to be tracked manually it becomes overkill for an Innovator plus credibility of an open system cannot be established. f. Reward Creativity If we want to get employees to think out-of-the-box, we need to motivate them with some form of rewards. Suggestions have to be taken seriously so that employees are willing to come up with more creative ways of improving the workplace. Otherwise, everyone will think it’s a waste of time to squeeze out creative juices for suggestions that won’t be implemented anyway. To kick-start things up, we can set goals for our employees to think up of some ways of making work processes more efficient. Perhaps each employee can be tasked to provide one suggestion by the end of each week and we’ll assess which idea is the best. This will be followed with a reward for the employee and equally important, implementation. The reward can be tangible ones like giving monetary incentives, or intangible ones like recognition from the organization by announcing the winner to the rest.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 7 Various sort of Recognition that we could think was through – ranking of individual, ranking of teams, presentation in Summits, award in Summits / exhibitions, Innovation fair stall presentation / exhibition, through some monetary / point benefits, plaque & certificates, publishing of photographs, interviews, setting up stalls & games etc. g. Support Creativity Employees may be unwilling to take risks because they do not know whether the organization supports creativity. This is when we need to guide the organization in the right direction, and show that creativity is highly valued. This has a lot to do with how receptive we are to their ideas, and how we make known our intention to be a more creative company. One reason why employees are not thinking out-of-the-box or coming up with solution that are vastly different from how things used to be done is that they may be afraid of the repercussions of making mistakes. Risk-taking has to be encouraged and be seen as a norm in the organization. Developing a creative culture takes time, but it starts off with management being more open-minded and less judgmental to the suggestions by employees. h. Utilize diversity among Employees How can different ideas exchange if everyone thinks in a similar manner? A uniform and agreeable crowd leaves little room for ideas to flourish. Rather than setting stringent prerequisites of forming an Innovation team, we might consider giving more allowance in our criteria. We can include in team staffs from different knowledge, qualifications, experience and background and get them to mingle around in projects and even company events. Organize more informal settings between employees with dissimilar profiles for the interchanging of thoughts. i. Create a positive Working Environment Sometimes, too serious a mindset can hinder creativity. Having fun during work allows one to be relaxed and that’s where one tends to get inspired with wonderful ideas. A stressful or even depressing work environment doesn’t give one the mood to think of doing things differently. The employee would only look forward to the end of the day. Psychological studies have revealed that positive mood can spur creativity. The idea is that positive mood awards us with greater flexibility in thinking because our perspectives are widened. We become more open-minded in that sense and are willing to explore alternatives. Knowing such findings now, incorporating fun into the work through team-bonding activities or retreats every once in a while can be a crucial element in injecting creativity in the workplace.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 8 VII. Examples and Case Studies a. From the industry The demand for creativity from employees is rising in this age of rapid technological advancement. This is evident when we see multinational companies like Google setting up something known as a the 20 percent program or policy where Google developers get to spend 20 percent of their working hours (a day at work) on side projects. It was an attempt to give employees the time and space to think innovatively. Indeed, the policy works well, with some of the best products of Google (e.g. Google News) originating from the program. b. From our own experience To go into details of our own experience first we need to study the framework that we follow. With the help of a particular case study & with aid of Diagram 2 let us understand what we do -
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 9 Diagram 2 Managed Innovation Framework Case study – how it is done - (a).Strategize - The problem was the customer frustration. This was due to various reasons as shown in the diagram above. This becomes the problem statement from where campaigns can be run to collect Ideas. (b). Collet Ideas - Some sample Ideas – (1) Correct errors manually (2) Develop web UI for users to view and correct errors (3) Do batch reruns for WIP corrected records etc. (c). Evaluate - Ideas are merged to figure out best solution. (d). Proposal - Idea proposal placed & approved. (e). Pilot the Proof of concept. In this case it was a single platform to view and correct errors. (f). Implement the Innovation - automated enrollment system implemented. The benefits received are detailed as in diagram above. Total Savings came to per year : $ 53,200. (g). Evangelization of the Innovation. In this example, case study was published. Recognition was received for the work done. This this motivated many such improvements to happen. In this case study, against the problem statement, 63 ideas generated , 4 best ideas merged , 1 Proposal was developed . 20 associates out of 30 member team participated / posted ideas. And to support the above framework most important was to establish a Tool. With more than one and a half lakh employees & thousands of ideas getting generated, thousands of Innovations being completed, it was very important to collect them & track them via a tool. Tracking them manually becomes overkill for an Innovator. Also it’s important to establish credibility of a transparent & visible system in an organization. What we have in our organization is a web based system called the Innovation Management System or I-space as we call it. Diagram 3 has the details of the tool.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 10 Diagram 3 And for generating these thousand plus Ideas different Ideation techniques were used as in Diagram 4. Diagram 4
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 11 VIII. Quantified benefits a. Benefits to business & the organization as a whole With over 6000 idea champions / innovation champions driving the innovation process across the organization, Cognizant’s Managed Innovation framework has evolved over the past six years, helping our customers and Cognizant to reap the benefits of a structured approach to innovation. In these years, Cognizant Innovation Group has gained valuable lessons and insights on the art and science of Managing Innovation at scale. In FY12 alone, Cognizant’s Managed Innovation framework has empowered 55,383 out of 150,000 employees to generate 134,242 ideas, implement 19,172 innovations for nearly 400 clients, amounting to a total value of about $548 million including both tangible and intangible savings based on our estimates. The Diagram 5 below talks of the success story of the overall performance of Cooperate function group within Cognizant (of which Delivery Assurance Group is a part). Diagram 5 b. Benefits to the Process & Quality Management Group from the Framework The bigger Process & Quality Management team or the Delivery Assurance Group (DAG) as we are better known in the organization was already divided into Business Unit specific DAG team. Each team was assigned an Innovation Champion. Deadlines were set, Innovation points were announced and the signal was clearly sent that we were serious about Innovation.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 12 Regular status reports were published with graphs showing comparison of each BU DAG team on the status of their campaigns, ideas & Innovations. This encouraged the sense of competitiveness, each BU DAG team wanted to be on top of the chart. Fortnightly status calls was organized among the Innovation Champions. Senior Management was involved monthly & quarterly in these calls. Monthly Campaign was also being launched for the Director and above senior management. Each of them comes with a pain area that is bothering them & that is launched as a Campaign. The whole DAG team is invited to ideate on them. I-space was the tool used as talked about earlier already for all of these. Be it launching Campaign, collecting Ideas, submitting piloted or completed Innovations - all were stored in this one stop web based tool. Also for generating Ideas, especially the ones that were done in conference room or through video conference, different techniques were used like brain writing, brain storming etc. Individual creativity was rewarded galore. A concept called Innovation Point was come up with. Anyone launching a campaign, submitting an idea was rewarded with Innovation points. These Innovation points were in turn used to rank every Individual in the DAG organization. And these points were linked to points in Cards which could be converted for items in big retail stores. Thus through this kind of activities creativity was supported, everyone was made to feel that someone is listening to them, they are getting adequately rewarded and thus a positive environment was created. The challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators was combatted to a great extent. For the DAG (Delivery Assurance Group) team it clearly showed results. The Diagram 6 below gives a snapshot for performance in various areas within DAG team from 2011 to 2013. For 2013, this is result till May end. With the number of Idea champions remaining the same year on year, there has been a steady growth in most of the parameters. For example, the number of Ideas getting generated in 5 months in 2013 is a whopping 720 whereas the total Ideas in 2012 summed up to 870. Number of associates contributing to Ideas & Innovations is 197 in 5 months in 2013 compared to total 404 in 2012 and 26 in 2011. This shows more Quality experts believing in the Innovation journey, contributing to it and thinking about newer Innovations which are certainly a step ahead in turning them to Quality Innovators. Total number of completed Innovations & the Innovation Index showed a steady increase as well as is shown in below diagram 6.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 13 Diagram 6 IX. Lessons Learnt As described in the beginning of the story, we had many questions. Throughout the past 3 years, we have had multiple challenges, tried multiple experiments and learnt valuable lessons. Managed Innovation has not only delivered impact but also created a large innovation community within Cognizant. If creating such a huge community is hard and metrics are a leading indicator, then keeping this community alive is even harder. We are proud of our achievements and this article is our way of contributing to a broader innovation community by sharing our experiences. While the lessons and insights are already part of the story, we would like to share few important lessons for those wanting to learn from our journey. Do not discount the small and tiny: In the history of innovations, many of the innovations and breakthrough opportunities started as small innovations. Some were successful at the first attempt, and some did not succeed and many came back after a period of hiatus to become breakthrough. Managing innovation is a long haul:. Every breakthrough innovation in the world came from the frustration innovators had and in most of the cases they were experts in their field. X. Critical Success Factor There are many perennial challenges in managing innovation in an enterprise. Here are some of them Where and how do we focus - “Tomorrow's feast Vs Today's bread”? 0 200 400 600 800 1000 No. Of Idea Champion No. of Ideas Generated No. of associate contributing Total no. of Innovations Innovation Index 2011 2012 2013 for 6 months
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 14 Where and how do we balance between - “Breakthrough Vs Sustaining Vs Optimizing innovations?” Should we focus on common problems that everyone sees or uncommon problems that very few see? Should we implement on common ideas that agreeable to everyone or uncommon ideas that are whacky and new? Finally, being part of the Innovation Group, how do we justify and provide a career path for an innovation catalyst role that does not innovate, but creates and nurtures an innovation culture? These are interesting challenges and we don’t have direct and concrete answers. These are very context- specific to a company, its leadership, its culture, its business model, its products, its services, its customers, the geography in which they operate and the situation on hand. Looking for correct opportunities & prioritizing them also forms a critical success factor as says our experience. The diagrams 7 & 8 below talk about that. Diagram 7
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 15 Diagram 8 XI. In Concluding Based on our experience managing innovation in large organizations like Cognizant & also within our smaller team at the Delivery Assurance Group, we believe everyone is creative, creativity can be taught, Innovation can be practiced and Innovation can be managed. Whether you are focused on making things better or making better things, many of the challenges are the same, it’s just that you need to wish to overcome them. Peter Drucker had once said "Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth”. The power of innovation can thus be felt in driving accelerated growth in business performance and lead the competition. In my paper, I have only attempted to define Innovation as the core DNA of any successful organization as human quest to imagination can lead to the quest for immaculate reality. In today's business dynamics, a change process can happen only with learning and innovation, which becomes one of the core competencies in achieving business leadership. Competent managers need to manage this process by creating triggers and environment for the people to think differently and eventually sensitize themselves with the overall mission and vision of the organization.
    • Paper Title: Challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators. 16 An innovation transforms mediocrity in to meritocracy and therefore forms a catalyst to business excellence. Overcoming the challenge of motivating the Quality Experts to turn into Quality Innovators is absolutely imperative for delivery & thus business excellence. XII. Author & References details Author – Ms. Soma Roy Sarkar. Senior Manager, Cognizant Technology Solutions. Email - Has 15+ years of Experience in IT industry with 13+ years in the Delivery Assurance / Quality Assurance Group in various companies. She also has worked in Quality Consulting projects at client location like ING Bank, Credit Suisse Bank & Burger King. Currently she is taking care of the Delivery Assurance Group for BFS vertical at Kolkata Cognizant and also spearheading the Innovation Journey for DAG at Cognizant under able guidance of Kalyani Sekhar, Senior Director, Delivery Assurance Group, Cognizant. References 1. Is managed innovation an oxymoron? (http://www.mixprize.org/story/managed-innovation- oxymoron) – An article by Kumar Sachidanandam as a part of “Innovating Innovation Challenge” in MiX (Management Innovation Exchange). Kumar Sachidanandam is a Senior Director and is heading the Managed Innovation at Cognizant. 2. 20 percent program or policy - Referenced from article in this link - 6 Ways to Unleash Creativity in the Workplace By Michael Poh - http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/unleash-creativity-workplace/ This article wouldn’t have been possible without the support & encouragement of - Kumar Sachidanandam(Kumar.Sachidanandam@cognizant.com)– Senior Director-Head of Cognizant Innovation Group. Porselvi Natarajan(Porselvi.Natarajan@cognizant.com)–Manager, Cognizant Innovation Group. Kalyani Sekhar(Kalyani.Sekhar@cognizant.com)- Senior Director, Delivery Assurance Group (DAG), Cognizant. Hariharan Mathrubutham(Hariharan.Mathrubutham@cognizant.com)–Vice President-DAG, Cognizant. Sanjay Kumar Mandal(SanjayKumar.Mandal@cognizant.com)- Director, DAG, Cognizant. Mahua Seth(Mahua.Seth@cognizant.com) - Director, Process & Tools Group, Cognizant.