Way forward for Work 2020: There isn’t any method or magic wand for innovation, says Sriram Iyer of Flipkart

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“Are you able to really engineer innovation? Is innovation a darkish artwork that’s primarily based on pure luck or can innovation be systematically developed?” Sriram V Iyer, Vice President – Engineering, Flipkart, requested a room filled with tech fans on the third version of YourStory’s Way forward for Work convention.

Having 4 years of expertise at working innovation labs at Ola Cabs and Myntra, Sriram laid down his strategy to innovation. In response to him, one can strategy innovation both by a depth-based strategy or a breadth-based strategy.

Sriram stated, with the depth breadth strategy, an individual can make investments 10,000 hours of deliberate follow in a specific topic to make an innovation, whereas in a breadth-based strategy, a multi-disciplinary crew or an individual studying a number of topics brings his data, combines and creates new innovation.

Sriram V Iyer

Sriram V Iyer, Vice President – Engineering, Flipkart



Since his time in Ola Cabs, Sriram has been following a technique which he calls a ‘data pyramid’. This consists of gathering data, making an attempt to grasp little of that data (comprehension degree), placing hours of follow to grasp a particular topic (assimilation degree), and at last placing the data acquired to resolve issues in a number of domains. 

“When you attain the appliance degree of the data, you don’t cease, however proceed to develop deeper. You are likely to see what others don’t see – that’s the depth-based strategy. The breadth-based strategy was made well-known by Steve Jobs as connecting the dots strategy,” Sriram defined.

Sriram additional stated the constructing blocks of latest concepts are embedded within the current data. One of many key methods to this strategy is the uncommon pairing the place individuals with two extraordinarily totally different area data or one particular person with data of a number of domains solves an issue in a very totally different area.

Citing examples from his personal expertise, Sriram spoke about how he used the data pyramid to innovate, and gave examples of Ola AutoConnect WiFi, Ola Play, and Myntra’s Roadster.



Ola AutoConnect WiFi

Within the early days, when web knowledge prices have been too excessive, it made sense to supply individuals free WiFi within the cabs, Sriram stated.

“I’m a wi-fi man working for a ride-sharing firm. So I requested myself why is the expertise of a ride-sharing platform damaged? Can we go to our home or workplace and join WiFi each time? No, it ought to be automated. That is the place innovation occurred, and Ola AutoConnect WiFi was born,” Sriram stated.

He defined the expertise of getting WiFi within the automotive was very sub-optimal. Vehicles used to have routers and drivers used to have stickers with a password, and each time a brand new automotive comes, they may enter the password and use it.

Presently, Ola is utilizing this advanced expertise to serve thousands and thousands of its clients. It additionally claims to be the world’s first related automotive platform for a ride-sharing firm.

Ola Play

Vehicles as a platform haven’t functionally modified in eight years, and all of the controls lie with the driving force. However with the appearance of the ride-sharing financial system, it gave the rider possession within the automotive because the controls moved from the driving force to the rider.

The success of Ola Play lies on the coronary heart of the stereo in entrance of the driving force, he stated. It’s designed like a stereo, and anyone who can set up a stereo in a automotive can set up Ola Play. Aside from the truth that it’s an Android system with a Quadcore processor, and 4G high-speed WiFi.

Additional elaborating the main points, he stated, whereas the video is performed from the pill positioned in entrance of the passenger, the audio is performed from the audio system within the automotive. Nonetheless, they don’t seem to be related, he added. The content material for the video is downloaded by a low-powered Android canal, and all Ola has to do is preserve a verify on the battery life.

“Tesla does software program updates over the air, and Ola does software program, configuration, and content material updates over the air. Ola is the most-advanced ride-sharing platform that we’ve constructed,” Sriram stated.  



Myntra – Roadster

Purchasing at a brick and mortar retailer usually leads clients to desert their carts. And Flipkart’s Myntra, to that impact, wished to think about a whole offline brick and mortar buying expertise. This led to the delivery of the Roadster model.

“Vogue modifications each three months. There are tons of of apparels coming in, and it’s troublesome for anybody to really present all of the data. Additional, there may be the worth of attire. The costs are closely discounted on-line. We wished to do value discovery and wished to know the product discovery. So, we constructed a product-discovery kiosk the place individuals would take any attire, put it within the kiosk, and instantly get all the main points of the attire within the show – how will it look on a mannequin, and what are you able to pair it with,” defined Sriram, the mind behind the innovation.

To unravel the cart abandonment concern, Flipkart made a self-checkout counter for the Roadster model.

“Regardless of what number of garments you will have, you set it in a basket, and your entire billing is completed in just a few seconds. You then insert your bank card and as quickly as you pay the cash, the RFID tags get deactivated. So, there isn’t any alarm while you stroll out of the shop,” Sriram added.

Wrapping up the session, Sriram urged entrepreneurs to create an surroundings to foster innovation.

“There isn’t any method or magic wand for innovation. Attempt to put in groups which can be multi-disciplinary, and you may anticipate some magic to occur. You want each depth and breadth strategy to make innovation,” he concluded.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)


A giant shout out to our Way forward for Work 2020 Sponsors: Alibaba Cloud, Larksuite, Vodafone Thought Restricted, Gojek, Adobe, Udaan, Pocket Aces, Junglee Video games, Sharechat, Open, VestaSpace Expertise, Maharashtra State Innovation Society, Kristal.AI and GetToWork; and our Information Accomplice: Ascend Harvard Enterprise Overview.

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