Lateral Sparks, the weekly quiz from YourStory, tests your domain knowledge, business acumen, and lateral thinking skills (see the previous edition here). In this 49th edition of the quiz, we present issues tackled by real-life entrepreneurs in their startup journeys.
What would you do if you were in their shoes? At the end of the quiz, you will find out what the entrepreneurs and innovators themselves actually did. Would you do things differently?
Q1: Digital transformation
Technologies like AI can play a powerful role in understanding, predicting, and even prescribing what needs to be done in a number of contexts. AI can help identify sources of inefficiency, and reduce waste. In what other ways can AI contribute to sustainability?
Q2: Risks and threats
An increasingly digital world also opens up possibilities of risks and threats. Having effective tools at the level of data creation, storage, access and transmission can help here. But there’s more to cybsersecurity than acting after breaches – what’s another way to reduce digital risk?
Q3: Brand success
Achieving product-market fit and choosing the right timing can help a brand succeed in a crowded marketplace. Effective customer engagement and support also help reinforce the brand. What are two other requisites to build a successful brand?
Q4: Talent and impact
Hiring top-notch talent and ensuring effective mentorship can help a company’s workforce perform well. Metrics for assessment and attractive incentives can also bring out the best in employees. But what’s another way of getting success – can empowerment also help?
Q5: Stories and beyond
Stories are powerful communication tools to share experiences, inspire employees, and build alignment in organisations. Such narratives also work well along with business case studies and data visualisation. But stories can be even more powerful if leveraged via other communication techniques – what are they?
Congratulations on having come this far! But there’s more to come – answers to these five questions (below), as well as links to articles with more details on the entrepreneurs’ solutions. Happy reading, happy learning – and happy creating!
A1: Digital transformation
“AI & Digital Twins will play a key role in driving the future of sustainable manufacturing and building the foundation for an efficient, connected, and sustainable factory of future,” explains Avnish Kumar, Founder and CEO of LivNSens.
Such technologies can help optimise efficiency and utilisation of resources. This can enable acceleration towards renewable, decarbonisation, and carbon-negative initiatives across the globe. Read more here about LivNSense’s solutions for industrial resources efficiency through its edge to cloud distributed intelligence.
A2: Risks and threats
“Breaches will continue to happen. All platforms are vulnerable. Hackers are consistently probing the weakest links. The only way to counter this is by staying ahead in the game,” explains Venkatesh Sundar, Co-founder and CMO at SaaS cybersecurity company, Indusface.
“Only when companies are affected, do they realise they have to do something about cybersecurity,” adds Biju George, Co-founder and CTO at InstaSafe, a Bangalore-based cybersecurity firm. Read more about organisational policies and preventive practices for cybersecurity here.
A3: Brand success
“Finding a niche and building a quality product are the two key pillars of building a successful D2C brand,” explains Vishesh Khurana, Co-founder, Shiprocket. The rapid growth in online shopping spurred by the pandemic led to the emergence of D2C brands giving tough competition to legacy consumer brands.
As examples, he cites Rage Coffee competing with the likes of Nescafe. Another example is Arata, which has emerged as a category leader in hair care products for curly hair. Read more here about changing customer dynamics and D2C brands here.
A4: Talent and impact
“People really, really crave autonomy,” observes Prashant Pitti, Co-founder of EaseMyTrip. Giving them that autonomy to perform helps them do well in their careers and even their lives.
The company focuses more on internal promotions than hiring from premier institutions. “If you can delegate a lot of work to them and give them the responsibility, they usually live up to it,” he adds. Read more here about the company’s journey to scale.
A5: Stories and beyond
“Conversations build trust, which leads to engagement and then actions follow,” explains Dr Latha Vijaybaskar, author of Talk Action: How Successful Teams Align Conversations with Action.
“Stories are layered, alchemical narratives which are deeply enmeshed in our cognitive and social fabrics. It is the most powerful invitation to a conversation,” she adds. Read the book review here to learn more about the power of storytelling and story listening as effective communication tools.
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).