A Conversation With Ravi Bommireddipalli Teja, CEO, Robosoft Technologies
Ravi Bommireddipalli Teja is the CEO of Robosoft Technologies, a full-service digital experiences agency. With extensive experience of 20+ years, Ravi is a rare blend of engineering, business development, Design Thinking and transformational business strategy. He is a Digital Advisor to customers across diverse industries in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In the rich landscape of his career, he has also been responsible for the creation of new products and services in the areas of strategy, digital transformation and IT alignment.
Ravi is an ardent believer and follower of the principles of Design Thinking in solving business problems.
Recently, I got the opportunity to speak to Ravi about why understanding the principles of ‘Design Thinking’ is must for all entrepreneurs and product innovators to connect with customers in today’s digital era.
Q: How has digitization impacted the way consumers make purchase decisions?
Ravi: In today’s digital era, the fact that customer is the king hasn’t changed. However, digitization has empowered today’s customers with information. It is no longer a world where the customers need to be ‘told’ by the businesses about their products; rather customers have a plethora of options to find out about any product or service. The circle of word-of-mouth for today’s customer has expanded from just family and friends to the entire online world, where thousands of reviews about a product are available at a click.
Q: With the abundance of information available about the consumer, it has become easier for businesses to understand what their consumers want. How can they use this data right?
Ravi: It is true that in today’s world, it is easy for businesses to find out what their customers ‘need’ given the vast amount of consumer data that is available today.
But to understand what customers really want is critical.
Until enterprises find this answer, they will continue to push products and services that they think customers need, instead of fulfilling the latent or unsaid needs of the customer.
And, data alone wouldn’t serve that answer to organizations on a platter.
Businesses will have to empathize with the consumer to really understand what their customers want, without customers explicitly spelling it out for them.
And, this is where Design Thinking becomes extremely critical for organizations. Design Thinking helps entrepreneurs and product innovators in moving out of our comfort zones, observe the customer, understand how they behave, their challenges & pain points, derive insights and then develop a product.
How did you start your journey of learning Design Thinking?
Ravi: During my stint with Nihilent Technologies, along with overseeing the growth, profitability and expansion of the company in 5 continents, I was responsible for the creation of new products and services in the areas of strategy, digital transformation and IT alignment. To fulfil this role successfully and deliver value to customers it was critical for me to apply the concepts of Design Thinking.
This was when I was introduced to Interaction Design Foundation (IDF).
It was without debate the best online portal available, and to my delight, IDF had over 80 -100 online courses on design.
When I enrolled, I intended to do a course on services design. However, in just a matter of 5 months, I ended up doing six courses. The fact that these courses were exceptionally well designed and the entire process was enjoyable helped me take up six courses in such a short duration. That was not the end – I continue to take various courses on IDF. In fact, I am doing three more courses on the portal currently!
How has the Design Thinking principles have helped you in your professional life
Ravi: All the concepts that I learned through IDF have had a direct impact on my work and the way I design solutions for my customers. For e.g. in one of my earlier roles, I was responsible for designing balanced scorecards and CEO scorecards for my customer. Some of the learnings from the course – what certain colors mean, how people perceive colors, what a specific design element can mean for the audience, etc. helped me immensely in the successful completion of the project.
In fact, applying these concepts helped me deliver these projects with minimal iterations and with utmost proficiency.
I also use these concepts in my day-to-day professional life. Any element that I use in my presentations, documents, website, etc. has a specific connotation that connects with the end-user. Further, the importance of the concept of ‘less is more’ was something which I llearnedfrom IDF. A concept that I have used while designing dashboards, mobile applications, software solutions, and even for a presentation.
What should be the approach of product innovators towards learning Design Thinking
Ravi: I believe that any professional should be a student for life. Digitization has transformed the landscape of education and training. In this digital era, we have to learn and unlearn continuously, and for that to happen portals like IDF are extremely helpful.
At Robosoft also, we do not call ourselves a bunch of engineers – we are a bunch of designers and above all ’empathizers’.
And, this is where Design Thinking becomes extremely critical at an organizational level.
With the digitization of education, the online world has opened up a plethora of resources for professionals to learn and keep updating their knowledge base. However, given our busy lifestyle, it requires dedication and commitment to benefit from these
Here are three tips on how professionals can keep themselves motivated to continue learning:
- Find 1-1.5 hours every day as soon as you wake up or before you go to bed to go through the courses, and stick to that routine.
- Pick up courses that offer certifications – it will motivate you to keep going and also build your professional profile.
- Gamification – have a healthy competition with yourself and peers who are taking up the course, it will keep the excitement going.