Welcome to Conversations with Chief Innovators, in which our CEO Pat Sheridan discusses innovation in business with transformational leaders across industries. In the fourth episode, we bring you Raj Banga, Director of Technology Innovation at Bialek Environments.
Watch the full episode below.
Over the past few years, Raj Banga has witnessed and navigated inflection points in several industries.
From introducing AutoCAD at design firms to working on early handheld devices such as PalmPilot, he has frequently found himself at the intersection of design and technology.
Today, Raj serves as the Director of Technology Innovation at Bialek Environments — a firm that creates vibrant, intelligent workspaces for organizations across industries. He combines his background in architecture with a passion for technology to drive innovative projects at Bialek.
Bialek is one of DC area’s premier Herman Miller Dealerships
I recently had a great chat with Raj on the nature of innovation, his experience at Bialek, and his approach toward prioritizing digital initiatives. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation:
1. How do you segment innovation and decide which initiatives to prioritize?
Innovation that really moves the needle falls under three buckets:
- Revenue generating — initiatives that generate revenue and impact the business bottom line.
- Customer experience — initiatives that make it easier for customers to interact with your business, even if they don’t generate revenue directly.
- Employee experience — initiatives that lead to higher employee engagement and a richer organizational culture.
These three buckets serve as a framework for us to evaluate and prioritize transformational projects.
2. How do you create and maintain a feedback loop with your customers?
At Bialek, we created a panel of clients from different verticals with whom we have done business for several years. It was great to get input from them on several of our ideas. But I’d also add that there’s only so much external influence that you should be seeking to validate what you believe. Ultimately, you have to trust your gut, identify the problem in your industry, and work toward a solution.
3. How has your role evolved today compared to when you first started at Bialek?
When you start, there’s beauty in being the new kid on the block and bringing an outsider’s perspective. You play the role of a disruptor because you don’t necessarily know the industry all that well. It’s beneficial for a company to get someone to challenge the status quo and inject fresh energy. After two and a half years, there’s that thin line to straddle between playing the rebellious disruptor role versus utilizing your industry knowledge. What helps is the culture of our executive team. At the core, we’re all on the same page and hungry to innovate and improve things.
Bialek is known for creating specialized and secure government office facilities
4. Any advice for leaders managing digital transformation projects?
To drive large-scale transformation projects, you have to enjoy the process of problem-solving. Digital transformation often entails simplifying a product or a process. But the process of simplification is complicated, and that’s okay. Don’t get intimidated because it’s complicated.
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