Episode #11 – Govi Rao from Noveda Technologies
Govi Rao, Noveda Technologies
In this episode number 11 of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Govi Rao from Noveda Technologies, tells us about how Noveda use Big Data to help their clients save on electric and water consumption. Listen to the inteview to learn what Govi shared with us on the podcast.
Listen to the Podcast
Watch the Video
Today we are giving away a copy of Peripheral Vision by George Day and Paul Schoemaker, which Govi has very kindly donated. Leave a comment under the video and tell us how you can use the idea of organizational vigilantes to support your business strategies and growth. I’ll get Govi to swing by in a few weeks and award the prize.
Some of the highlights of this episode include:
- Looking carefully at the life cycle cost of a product as opposed to the acquisition cost, gives a much better indication of its value.
- The ability to EASILY collect data, collate data, analyse that data and understand what it tells us is fundamental to better understand behaviour, educate and eventually change behaviour.
- Noveda has developed the Make Me Sustainable platform – which is a social network tool, to engage the whole community in energy and water savings, through education, peer comparison and experience exchange and a sense of competition.
- Govi talks about the dual challenges of keeping great people on the team, in a start-up where perhaps the monetary compensation could be better elsewhere and getting a sustained level of investment until the business becomes self-sustaining. He has clear approaches to both challenges.
- Market paranoia or organizational paranoia is something that drives people to probe and look outside and stay connected with the market, which drives innovation. That’s the concept of Peripheral Vision that Schoemaker and Day.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Govi’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be innovative – Be connected to world: the suppliers, the competitors, the customers, the end-users, the decision-makers.
- Best thing for new ideas – Create a meaningful dialog with our strategic customers..
- Favourite tool for innovation – Project reviews every Monday; communicate, communicate, communicate; customer input, market input.
- Keep project / client on track – Face-to-face review process with milestones and strong customer relationships.
- Differentiate – Don’t make innovation a product of chance. Make sure there is a process, even as informal as it may be, that ties in all the stakeholders in a dialog and that your own team, with the market, the competition, your customers, your enablers, your channel partners, are all involved.
Govi suggested I interview Paul Shoemaker, one of the authors of Peripheral Vision, on a future podcast. So, Paul, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast!
Hint: to enter the competition, leave a comment under this video and tell us how you can use the idea of organizational vigilantes to support your business strategies and growth.
- Noveda Technologies
- Make Me Sustainable
Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals that Will Make or Break Your Company: Seven Steps to Seeing Business Opportunities Sooner, Paul J.H. Schoemaker and George S. Day
Click to Read…
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 11 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation and the Internet of Things become even more innovative.
In this episode, our guest is Govi Rao from Noveda Technologies, based in Bridgewater New Jersey, USA. I first met Govi many years ago when we were travelling through India together, doing market research for Rohm and Haas. He impressed me then as an extremely energetic, driven, passionate and intelligent person and those traits were certainly evident in today’s interview.
We talked about the importance of a great team to every business, but particularly to a small start up business that may not be able to compete with big salaries. Govi also described how he handles the challenge of maintaining cash flow and generating investment through strategic partners, as well as how a small company can be an effective and valuable partner to much larger corporations. It was great fun, there are a lot of fascinating lessons that Govi shares, focussed on the challenges of a small startup company with a big vision and an innovative product.
This week’s innovation tip is use your data! It is impossible to improve anything that isn’t measurable, so set up systems that will allow you to measure everything, gather meaningful data and present it to your team in a way that it is easily accessible, easily analyzed and the improvement opportunities are clearly displayed and identified. Use the data to guide both improvement and also behaviour change – it’s amazing how motivated people become, to change behaviour, when they have a clear reason why and data showing the benefits to everyone of change, provides a compelling driver.
Before we meet Govi, a quick competition announcement – this week’s competition prize is sponsored by Noveda Technologies and has been kindly donated by Govi.
The prize is a copy of Peripheral Vision by George Day and Paul Schoemaker. Stick around for details on how you can enter the draw to win that competition prize later on in the interview.
So stay with us, let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Govi Rao.
Jürgen: Hi. I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. I’m very pleased to have here with me today on the InnovaBuzz Podcast all the way from Branchburg, New Jersey in the USA, Govi Rao, who’s the president and the CEO of Noveda Technologies. Welcome to the podcast, Govi.
Govi: Thank you, Jürgen. Glad to be here and appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with you again.
Jürgen: Yeah, it’s a privilege to have you here. Now, just for our listeners, Noveda Technologies is an innovative leader in real time web-based energy and water monitoring. The company has patented its software solutions, which help their clients reduce energy and water usage by using advanced monitoring systems and applying technology that basically leads into our theme of the Internet of Things to solve real world problems. It’ll be really exciting to hear from Govi about how they do that, the challenges they face and what’s ahead for Noveda Technologies.
Before we learn more about Govi and Noveda, I’d just like to announce today’s competition prize. Govi has very kindly donated a copy of “Peripheral Vision” by George Day and Paul Schoemaker. I had a brief look at that because we spoke about that just prior to recording the podcast. They talk about emerging technologies, changing consumer taste and that providing tremendous opportunities, but also threats which often begin as weak signals from the periphery. They talk about how good is your peripheral vision, how good is your sense in interpreting and acting on those signals as an organization and as individuals.
That sounds like a really interesting book and I’m looking forward to Govi introducing the competition later on in the interview. Stick around for details on how you can win that prize.
Okay, Govi. Now, before we learn about some of the fabulous things you’re doing there at Noveda Technologies, let’s take you back to your childhood and find out what you wanted to be when you were a young child. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Govi: Jürgen, I think there’s an amazing theme of coincidence here just from all your podcasts. Growing up, I actually grew around relatives, elders who were in the Air Force and flying planes. I automatically took it. My dream and passion in life when I was growing up was actually to fly jet planes. Just to take that thought process forward, I actually ended up joining the Air Force as my first career.
That’s what I was and I started the Defence Academy Training, which didn’t last as long as I would have liked to because of eyesight and other developments. I had to move away from the Air Force and even though I had a technical education, I had to go into the business level in terms of training, education, etcetera. To go back to your question, my first passion in my life has been flying.
After leaving the Air Force services and coming here to the US, I’ve actually taken to flying private planes as well. It’s a passion, sort of.
When I find time, I’d like to do that as well. That’s something that taking the skies has been a passion of mine.
Jürgen: Do you have a pilot’s license?
Govi: Yes. I just took a VFR, as we call it. No instruments, so absolutely. I take up an assessment or something and go on a little bit and come back. If I have to go to Florida, I have to take somebody else with me with an IFR.
Jürgen: We’ll have to get you down to Australia at some point to fly here.
Govi: I’ll fly commercial there and then we’ll do something local.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s right.
Jürgen: That’s what I mean, because one of our other guests is actually a keen pilot here in Australia, Joanne Clark.
Govi: Yeah, interesting. I’ll get my license up. One of the things we also have to do is have periodic takeoffs and landings to keep up your license. Pretty much everywhere in the world, that’s regulation. One of the things in this job is I’m limited by what I can do as a CEO of a company, how much risk I can take. That’s one of the things that I’ve got to carefully balance as well to see how much I can fly and get to keep up my license. When I’m coming to Australia, I’ll make sure I have a valid license.
Jürgen: Sounds great. What’s your business career been from those days in the Air Force then?
Govi: It’s a pretty circuitous route, Jürgen. I actually came to the US to further my education, even beyond the degrees that I had from India. I actually wanted to learn more about motivating and inspiring people. I went to a school in Pennsylvania to do another Masters in what we call Strategic HR, to understand how do you motivate leadership and how you motivate people, etcetera.
Right after that program, I joined Rohm and Haas as an intern. Very quickly, that internship turned into a full time role and I ended up spending a significant chunk of my early career in Rohm and Haas, as you know, through several jobs and multiple businesses in different regions of the world and was working with people like you, fascinating of course, like yourself and our environment, for example. I worked in plastics and coatings and paint and medicines and leather in Asia and Europe and building materials and building products and finally into electronic materials.
If you remember, in Rohm and Haas, one of the things that we always had a grounding on is Responsible Care. Do you remember that?
Jürgen: Yes, absolutely.
Govi: It’s interesting because Responsible Care, product integrity all happened to become part of our DNA. To me, growing up in India with my dad in the forest services, scarcity was something that was ingrained and say, “You always conserve your resources. You always conserve water or electric.” I mean, how it is in Asia, the cost is so high. Electric is so high, water is scarce, food is scarce. You grew up with that and you learn conservation becomes second nature to you.
That fit in very well with the Responsible Care concept, which is with the larger environment in perspective. Through that, I was working and I did the whole concept of Responsible Care. It was fascinating and I got involved with some of the work that we did with American Chemical Council, with an electronic chemical study, etcetera.
Right after a decade in Rohm and Haas, I started getting into the internet space. We actually created the first e-business group in Rohm and Haas. I don’t know if you remember that, in 2000, under Raj (Gupta) and I think Mike (Fitzpatrick) was there as well, putting Rohm and Haas on the internet map. I was also getting on electronic materials at that point with powder coatings and their acquisition, etcetera.
In one of the presentations I was doing on our site, I ran into people from Philips and talked to them about what we were trying to do with leading this chemical company into this age. Those guys were fascinated and of course, after a year’s worth of talking back and forth, they wanted me to come and work for them and pull them as well. It seem like a very fascinating idea because in Rohm and Haas, we’re all in the backend of the valued chain. We didn’t really communicate with end users, which is obviously an issue for us.
We can come a little closer with the Paint Quality Institute and things like that. However, it wasn’t really first-hand connection with the customers. This Philips thing offered opportunity for me. I thought that’s an interesting thing of staying close to the marketplace. I moved to Philips and again, taking with me this whole concept of conservation. This idea of use, reuse and recycle just going to get anew. In Philips, I did the same thing, ran businesses and eventually led their LED lighting as a global team.
The one thing that bothered me and drew me to do things was this slow pace of movement in large companies. You know that. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way that corporations work.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah.
Govi: The larger the corporation, usually the longer time it takes. Philips being multinational as it always and as most of the companies are, going back and forth, it was delaying things, slowing things down. I actually pitched them a proposal then to start my own LED lighting company. Philips actually agreed to invest with me if I raise money from outside companies. We created this idea of LED lighting company on our side that would become a good supplier and a partner of Philips, which we did and raised money and got in there.
It became public and then became too big for me to handle. It’s one of the things that you’ve got to be careful about. However, career-wise, just to give you an idea, all along the theme has been Responsible Care, which I believe, as many raised, Jürgen, is the predecessor to sustainability. If you take a look at sustainability you extend out a little bit. Responsible care and product integrity was always doing things about the environment. It makes sense.
Melbourne was a classic example, I mean the plant in Melbourne was amazing. That kind of innovative thinking is what today we are trying to push on sustainability. All along, my drive in business has been that the concept of get to economic gains with environmental consciousness and social awareness, and do all three at the same time.
After Philips, I did this LED lighting company that became too big and I started to take a look at this company, which is Noveda. You’re familiar with LED’s, right?
Jürgen: Yeah, of course.
Govi: It’s a new type of lighting. We started doing this by 2001 I believe in Philips and we kept pushing it. The challenge with LED’s has always been demonstrating the value of lighting. People always compare it to an incandescent light bulb and not just from a light bulb and also from a price perspective.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah and they look at the cost to acquire rather than the lifetime use cost.
Govi: Yeah, life cycle cost. That’s just human nature. No matter how much the argument you give them, it always goes back to, “I got 20 cents for this. Why am I paying dollars for this?” I mean, this doesn’t shed its light. How do you get the value? My take on this is the ignorance on that automatic move to discussing price or basing your decision based on price is based on the fact that they don’t have a lot of information.
They’re not used to buying light bulbs looking at watts or really, why should you be looking at how many watts you pull from the globe? Usually, we’re looking at how much light you get, the quality of it, not the watts. It’s a long story. One of the things that I took away from that experience was if we are able to use data and give people the intelligence, they make better decisions. “You know what, I’m going to buy this LED. I don’t mind paying $10 for this or $20 for this.”
Giving them the data the way they like, when they want it or use it is something that would be absolutely powerful. When this company came up and the way it came up in discussions, the company had the technology to do real-time assessment and monitoring of any device in a building, whether it’s your electric or your renewable or water or natural gas. If you can take that and make it even bigger and connect it to a big device and give people the right feedback, I think that would be great.
When I joined, I decided to take on this role in 2010. Since then, I’ve been building this with a very small, amazing team of people, where we’re able to connect to any hardware that you have in your building and give you real-time consumption, not just numbers but comparisons. As an example, you will say, “How much am I using today compared to the same time last week or last month?” Obviously, we compare it to national average so you can do internal benchmarks, outside benchmarks.
If you have 100 buildings, you can put them all in space and go, “Oh my god, this building here is consuming a lot more than this one, and they’re all exactly the same.” It will give you alerts to all kinds of things in order to do a simple web application. We use in it the cloud base technology. That’s what we do today and how I came into that.
The company’s been doing it for seven years. I’ve been in it for about five now almost and keep on pushing this. We have global clients pretty much everywhere. Interestingly enough, now, everyone’s talking about big data and we’ve been doing big data for about seven years, which is the best part to be able to be in a little bit of a lead. Our UI or user interface is fantastic. If you’re on our website, you can take a look at our user interface. It really is fantastic. It’s going to give you an idea.
Jürgen: That’s great. I had a brief look at it and it does look very impressive. I like that it’s a kind of application because like you say, they give you real data, live data that’s up to date and it educates the user. We’ve recently installed solar panels on our house. That came with a similar monitoring system where we can check how much power we’re generating, how much we’re using, how much is going back into the grid, how we’re performing compared to people in similar locations. Then, of course, how we’re performing now compared to a month ago, which is interesting in and of itself because you consider differences in the time of year and height of the sun and all that stuff.
My wife is absolutely fascinated by that. She’s normally not a big data person but she’s on there every day. She gets home from work, she jumps on there and says, “Hey, look. We’ve generated this much power today and here’s how much we’ve used. The interesting thing about that is now, she’s changing her behavior because she’s saying, “Well, I’m going to put the washing machine on middle of the day because that’s when we’re generating our own power.”
Govi: That’s the best example of how data can drive change. In fact, she doesn’t have to wait until she gets home because with the Noveda application, you can get it on your iPad or your iPhone or on your PDA. You can be anywhere and you all of a sudden get an alert saying, “Jürgen, your consumption now has gone up 20% from same time yesterday. What’s going on?” I mean, you get an alert, which is, you go, “wait a minute, the kids might be doing something or maybe someone is running the washing machine now.”
That level of intelligence and it’s interesting, it does change behavior. We have about 3,500 installations worldwide, large and small. In fact, all of them commercial, we have very small number of residential. Across the board, we’ve noticed about somewhere between 5 and 7% reduction in consumption because of behavior change driven by the data. They’re not putting in controls, they’re not doing any major equipment changes. Just by putting monitoring in, we can see a 5 to 7% reduction based on behavior modification, which is by itself is fantastic.
The return on our product, the investment and monitoring system somewhere runs between six weeks and six months, which is fantastic.
We also have control systems, if somebody wants to put in controls. Say, I want to control your lighting. For daylight and control, the occupancy and motion sensing and all that. We have our upgrade system, which we upgrade to controls. It doesn’t matter what type of lighting you have, fluorescent or LED or something else, incandescent. We’re able to control it down to the right level so your consumption goes down significantly. We are able to save people, I would say, 40 to 50% of their lighting cost just by controlling that automatically.
Jürgen: Who are your customers then?
Govi: Most of our customers are commercial, retail, industrial clients with multiple sites. As an example, Staples is a great customer. Staples is the big box office retail chain. We monitor all 1,500 of their stores in the country. Other financial systems like JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, these are all clients, large, multi-site clients. That’s who we like to go after. It’s where we can add tremendous value if you have more than, let’s say, 10 or 15 locations. You’re familiar with NRDC Managements?
Govi: NRDC is – check them out -is an amazing organization. It’s the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s a global lobbying NGO that works across the globe in conservation of natural resources. They’re working with governments on policy, etcetera. They actually are a client. They bid for a product and we won the bid in 2012. We’re monitoring their locations all across the US and Beijing as well. We monitor in Beijing.
Rolls Royce is a customer of ours in the UK. We monitor their location. We have large, blue chip clientele and everybody that uses our products loves the user interface.
Jürgen: Yeah, sounds terrific. I noticed also you have some partnerships there with some partners, with one that was mentioned on your website, the Green Schools Alliance, which sounds fascinating.
Govi: If you look at schools as an example, Green Schools Alliance, they have 3,000 members worldwide. Just on the data that we have on those schools, which we have on our dashboard now, the schools can use the platform not only to reduce their consumption and optimize it. They can also use it for educational purposes. It’s fascinating as it gets. In fact, they have a competition platform that you can add on. Universities are using it along with others like Trinity and Medallion and a few other colleges.
Schools will also try using it where students can compete between schools, within schools, to lower their consumption. Now, that is an amazing big step. We’ve seen significant results. By the way, everything that we do is data based. You change out one light bulb and you see the dial go down, the kids get loud. Everything gets translated to dollars and cents and pounds of carbon. It’s amazing and things just get very exciting.
That’s the beauty of the entire thing. With schools, it’s ideal because it’s not just to conserve energy and water, it’s also for education. I mean, I like the idea that it’s doing that, which fits into this whole concept of sustainability, of giving economic, social and environmental benefits.
Jürgen: Yeah, and the education thing then drives the change of behavior across a whole generation.
Govi: That’s the best thing, right?
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s right. I like the idea. You talked about smart. In fact, your website is organized along those lines; smart data, smart users, smart companies, smart communities.
Govi: Absolutely. It’s been talked about, the smart grid. We don’t have smart buildings. How do you actually take them from there? We provide the hardware for people to make their building smart. If you don’t have smart meters, we provide them on boxes, we actually make it. You can put it in your houses. It’s like a little gateway that sends data to the cloud wirelessly or wired, everything on your choice.
We turn the data back to the consumer as intelligence, making them smart and say, “Oh my God, I didn’t know that I use the least electric of all my neighbors or a similar house in their climate zone.” Now, you start giving them information, “You can save so much money here. You can do this.”
We also have this site platform that’s called Make Me Sustainable that will give recommendations on what you can do to lower whatever you’re using, if it’s water, or electric or light bulbs or whatever it is. It’s called makemesustainable.com. It’s based on the Facebook platform.
We are providing tools like that for people to get educated so they can make a change in their consumption. That’s using the idea of driving behavioral change. At the end of the day, if you give people the intelligence and start giving them better information, they start making better decisions. The community gets educated. They then say, “Maybe I go to the new source. Maybe I put a storage.” Then we start our lowering consumption. We’ll have a bit of plants more – then the two degree difference, if we ever make it there. Are you familiar with the two degree?
Govi: It’s all going towards that. It’s just one of the things, yeah.
Jürgen: Coming back to you Govi, what do you spend most of your time doing day to day?
Govi: These days, three things I spend my time on mostly. First is obviously sales and targeting large corporations. I don’t have a large sales force. I actually have channel partners so I work with channel partners or my strategic accounts to actually build sales trajectory. The second one is actually building and coaching the team. That’s just a non-stop thing that we continue, we can never do enough of. The third one is talking to investors. That’s pretty much most of my time, which accounts to, I don’t know, a 9 or 10 day a week usually. That’s how it goes.
Jürgen: That seems to be a common thing with the people I interview as well.
Govi: It’s interesting because one of my investors, a very good investor of ours, is found in Australia, in Sydney. These guys are absolutely fascinating people. It’s interesting, they have great ideas. In fact, we’ve been trying to do a joint venture in Australia as well with these people, and they’re trying to build some understanding of the space there. There are conversations that happen at 1am Eastern Time, 12am Eastern Time, it doesn’t matter. It just goes on because it’s interesting conversations.
Literally, around the clock and you know the time zone differences. If you have a small thing, you have to do it. You can’t delegate that, somebody has to do it. That’s the fun part.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s great. When you first meet somebody, Govi, and they ask you what you do, what do you tell them? What’s your one sentence elevator pitch?
Govi: The simplest version for us is, “If you lower operating costs for buildings worldwide for every customer and lowering their carbon emissions and giving them a very, very easy way to get cost-positive on their utilities. It’s lowering cost and becoming green.” They say, “Oh really.” The value proposition that we are able to provide that today, Jürgen, is because of associations and alliances with financial institutions, we can give that to people with no cap X.
We’ll say, “How do you like not spend a dime and lower your operating cost and put money in your pocket and become green?” Wow, that sounds too good to be true. We make that happen, and that’s exactly what we do. It’s very simple. It’s not rocket science. I’m not bending molecules and I’m not doing polymerization anymore. It’s just very straight forward, very simple.
Jürgen: Yeah, but adding immense value.
Govi: That’s what I hope to do, yeah.
Jürgen: Also influencing positive change, which is fabulous.
Jürgen: Is there something that you worry about in your role or in the company that keeps you awake at night?
Govi: Quite a few things. It’s never easy, especially if you’re on a startup. It’s one of those things that’s constantly going on and constantly changing. You’re trying to build scale and innovate at the same time. These are some of the duel sword issues, and I’ll talk about that in a second. To go back to your question, what worries me, two things that I worry about a lot. One is to continue to build and hold on to the really good team that we have and continue to build on that. From the beginning, it’s by having people who were smarter than you around you.
I got lucky in my life to be able to do that. In Noveda as well, we have some really, really amazing people. How do you keep them engaged and excited and motivated, and continue to build them as we scale. That’s my first. It’s continuous because that’s dynamic because we don’t chain people and they can leave any time they want. The only thing that holds them on here is inspiration. They can always make money elsewhere if they choose to. They can find other things to do. How do you actually keep them completely excited and inspired? That’s the first thing that keeps me awake.
The second thing is the part about finding continued investment until we are able to make the brick. As a startup, that’s one thing that you do because the internet does things as we call them here, the connected cells, the energy monitoring, the water monitoring, it still are ways off. I think conservatively speaking, I believe we are about maybe five to seven years ahead of time, just like we were with LED lighting in 2001 or 2002. People said, “LE what?” I say, “LED.” They say, “What? What is that?”
Now, with monitoring, less than 3% maybe of the buildings that are actually monitored in the world. How do you commercially survive? How do you survive as a viable entity when your commercial success is so limited and how you sell. I can’t hire a huge sales force because that’s too expensive. You have to make sales happen.
We’ve got channel partners. How do you work with channel partners. We’ve been lucky we’ve got some channel partners. I think we’ve been able to build a little bit more. Those are two things that I worry about. One is the team and second is the sustained investment until the break.
Jürgen: They’re pretty big challenges. You haven’t found an answer for either one yet?
Govi: I think the first one, I’m not sure if I have a fully-baked concept because it’s evolving as you know. You’re on a team, you know exactly what it is. We have an amazing team and it has gaps in it. Technology-wide, I’ve got a very amazing team. I’m growing technology in multiple areas. We’re getting into controls . We’re getting into the smart grid. How are you going to attract the right type of talent and you have to have a certain level of critical mass. Luckily, we’ve got blue chips type of clients and we’re trying to build innovation through them.
That’s the part of how you actually connect to the right customers so you can get the project load and innovation that drives people to you, those talent to you. That’s one. We also have a pretty good stock option program. Everybody gets stock options. It’s not just C-suit as they call it. Everybody shares in it.
The third one is communication. It’s open dialog; communicate, communicate, communicate. We do town halls almost every month, open discussion and dialog. It’s a small thing, we can do that. We know where we stand in terms of the business development, investments, funding, alliances. Just very, very quickly to run through. Some really engaged team, even though we’re supposed to be a very engaged team. Communication becomes absolutely a key and we have ideas flying across the board.
When you get out of day-to-day operations, giving them the latitude to make mistakes, as an example. That’s okay, and of course, how do you learn from them very quickly and to recover so that you don’t make it again, our learning from there. Definitely, they have had fun. The interesting thing is over the last five years, the practices that we have then, we have now come down to the core group of people who absolutely want to be here, not have to be here. That makes a big difference, it makes a huge difference. Things otherwise build on that.
First of the part, I’ve gotten that covered to a degree that I’m fairly comfortable. I’m not completely comfortable I like to build the team on. Which is the next part, which is if I can find sustained investments, I can also attract people. Not just money, but to doing other things as well. You got to do both.
Jürgen: They’re very closely related, yeah.
Govi: It’s a dance, you got to do the dance. I don’t think there’s ever a perfect dancer. You’ve got to just keep at it, keep at it all of the time. That’s a beauty. It’s not just me. I’ve got a nice, great team with me. They’re all like excited and motivated, passionate, inspired to do the right thing. I just said, if you look on our website, you’ll see everything that we do towards lowering carbon, lowering costs, improving productivity. It’s a good thing and you feel good that every minute, somebody lowers their costs, which is a beauty.
Jürgen: You’ve said some really fascinating insights there as to how you manage your team and how you motivate and inspire them. Thanks for sharing that. I certainly noted some ideas there. That’s great. You’ve talked quite a lot about the web and certainly, you’re involved in the early days in Rohm and Haas and I remember being involved in Paint Quality Institute, which was my first exposure to the web. When did you realized that the internet was something that could provide a tool that’s going to change the way we do business?
Govi: It seems like literally a long time ago. I think this was the time when we created this e-business group in Rohm and Haas, which is now I think about 20 years ago. Do you remember Chuck Gruber, by any chance?
Govi: Chuck and I actually were the first two people in the group that started creating the e-business. We were pushing for that through several things. In fact, just before that in the coatings group, we were doing something. The building products, we were doing something. I don’t know if you’re familiar, Elemica was an industry exchange that was created. That was about 20 years ago and that’s when things started to come together.
Of course, we did a lot of research I guess in that year or two, I would say maybe a year and a half or so of rapid learning curve. That’s what also led me to move onto the space and drive to the connectedness and to the internet and things like that and of course handed me in the center of the smart grid, as we speak. I’d say about 20 years ago.
Jürgen: It’s fascinating isn’t it, how things have changed in that 20 years.
Govi: It’s interesting, every two, three years, the speed of change accelerates even further.
Jürgen: Absolutely, yeah.
Govi: It’s just absolutely amazing. For us, it’s even more dramatic as we see the cloud computing. Today, everybody calls it cloud but this was data was doing seven years ago. That’s where we started with this company. We need to do big data. Of course, we put new words around it. However, the abilities of today, we can turn off lights. In fact, we just launched about last month a product where municipalities can look at their entire street lighting network on their iPad and just decide to turn it off and on if they want to, manual override.
They can see how much every street light is consuming in electric and they can alert when one of them has an issue. There are never out of street lights in the district. They can just go off. I mean, they never are down. We can get an alert so somebody can be sent to fix it. It gives them statistics on how much have used and when it came on, dawn to dusk cooperation. All of that stuff just in your iPad or your iPhone or your PDA.
That level of connectivity can happen with every device in the building. It could be a process. It could be anything else, your lights, your HVAC system. All of that stuff, that intelligence and based on local weather. We are combining all of that stuff. The amount of stuff that you now can do just with your PDA, your personal device, is just amazing – your smart phone. It’s absolutely fantastic. It can do the same thing. NEST has launched the Thermostat Project.
Govi: It’s just the beginning. Now, you got to be careful about how much you give, the security and all of that stuff in there. Which is why we are more particular about doing this on the commercial side because we are all security-driven and so on and so forth. However, the technology part has changed dramatically. Now, it’s even becoming faster and faster.
Jürgen: Yeah, it’s amazing. The opportunities that’s opening up for people to do different things again, it’s quite amazing.
Jürgen: What do you as you talked a little bit about the challenge of funding and the challenge of attracting and keeping the right talent. What do you see is the main risk of being an innovative company and driving innovation and driving change?
Govi: You mean the risks of being innovative?
Govi: I’ll talk about it from a startup perspective, a small, medium enterprise, not an established company. Because in an established company, if you don’t innovate, then you’re bound to obliterate yourself. However, for a small, medium enterprise, either startup or just post startup affairs, where the startup has come together primarily because of an innovative idea. That’s how startups start, has an idea, somebody has a passion. Nobody starts a company and then sits down to say, “Well, let me see what I can do.” They don’t do that. It’s an idea that sparks the company, as an example.
In that case, where the DNA of the company, the people that are starting it, is primarily driven by innovation. There, the challenge becomes how do you take that innovation and at what time do you actually start commercializing. Because if you don’t do that, you will just innovate and innovate and innovate but then there’s no money being made. Then at some point, you’re setting down in a spiral.
I’ve been in that situation where I’ve got some amazing entrepreneurs and technology folks, who’s phenomenally innovative people. They’re innovating a lot. However, keeping us from commercializing and enriching skill. Making a product once is okay. You got to make it again and again and again and to be able to sell those stuff to make some money, to lower your possible operations. Scalability becomes an issue.
The risk of innovation is, if you’re not careful, especially with small, medium enterprises, especially if your DNA is driven by innovation, if you don’t watch it, you may not be able to commercialize in time and meet your profitable targets, etcetera. That’s the one risk about it.
The other flip side obviously is, if you don’t have continuous innovation, then you will fall behind very quickly. Which is why I like the idea of this book, Peripheral Vision, by Schoemaker and George Day. It’s not phrase but I’m sure somebody else had mentioned it before, “Market paranoia or organizational paranoia is something that drives people to probe and look outside and stay connected with the market, which drives innovation. That’s the concept of Peripheral Vision that Schoemaker and Day talked about. It’s an amazing idea.
That part of the risks of not doing that, if you’re not connected to the market, then your life blood for innovation goes away. That’s a big risk. You got to make sure that you stay connected to the market.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s a very important message, isn’t it. Also, I think, inherent in that is innovation for innovation sake is not necessarily a good thing. It’s got to be something that has a practical use that can then be translated into a profitable business, right?
Govi: Yeah, absolutely. The challenges in large companies is where we have a lot of technology contingent and where their goal objective is to innovate. The market conversations and customer input and customer feedback, we have consultants coming in and helping us trying to change before. For small companies, it’s the other way around. You’ve got to make sure that you commercialize because if you don’t, it’s just innovation. Innovation isn’t going to take you anywhere.
Giving the customer what they want, in many cases. It’s not in this whole concept of having a perfect product and it’s well. If it’s good enough, and this whole thing about good enough, put some gains in the market and then continue to innovate. That becomes a trick for entrepreneurial sales starters and startup companies, where we need to learn how to actually make the contingent. A lot of people have done that very successfully.
Jürgen: You talked about flying before. Is that your main hobby or do you do some other things? What do you do to keep balanced when you’re not working 9 hours a day?
Govi: If I get off at 9 hours, that would be an amazing thing.
Govi: Actually, I don’t fly as much these days largely because of the insurance constraints in flying, etcetera. I do a bit of flying time away from work. I do travel with the family quite a bit. We love visiting places especially in Europe. We’re also having some plans on trips to Asia as well. New Zealand and Australia are on our list. We want to go there and we’ll definitely do that as well. We just went to Iceland recently, which is certainly fabulous. This was this past summer, we were in Iceland and I’ve never been there before. It’s actually a really beautiful place. We’re exploring new areas or something that we like a lot, spent a lot of time with the family.
The other hobby, which I like to take it as a hobby, is actually fixing things at home. It doesn’t matter what you do, something has to be fixed. I ended up having it as a hobby along with my son. It’s always fun to get that part of it. Yes, when you have growing kids, you always have interest that you got to take on. A lot of stuff to do outside the work place as well.
Jürgen: That’s great. That’s good to get and see different things and particularly to share it with your family, isn’t it?
Jürgen: You’ve put up a prize as a book so I’ll ask the question anyway. If you’ve read any interesting books recently that you’d recommend to us.
Govi: Quite a few. I don’t know what to rank, the best. In fact, I think Alan talked about Cradle to Cradle, which has been on my list. I actually worked with the author, Bill McDonough. He and I were on the same board together in US and China, Global Institute of Sustainability – and I worked with him quite a bit. Very, very interesting personality, amazing guy. That’s a great book. Actually, it’s a great concept.
The whole concept of Peripheral Vision, I would recommended to people.
In fact, George and Paul Schoemaker have written other books on the idea of scenario planning. If you explore Schoemaker’s bunch of books on scenarios and the whole decision strategies, how do you actually make decisions with companies, whether you’re large or small. It could be for innovation, it could be efficiency, it could be for something else. Getting the main process and having an, I would say, perspective of this Peripheral Vision, if you tie it in all together, those were amazing concepts. I would definitely have people take a look at those books as well.
These days, there’s tons of books on leadership concepts and keeping with your team. There’s one other book that I think people would find interesting. It’s on innovative things. There’s tons of them and they’ve had quite a few. The one that struck accord with me was I think the book called, “From Machine-to-Machine to The Internet of Things.” I don’t remember if I noted down the name of the author. I think it’s Jan Holler. I was trying to bring the book and I have to go outside this morning. I’ll do research on it, I think it’s Jan Holler.
It’s a well-written book. It is almost like a primer. For businesses not into it yet, if you talk about what this whole Internet of Things is all about, it’s machine-to-machine and humans getting their intelligence to be able to do what they wanted that makes sense. That I think gives a very good overview of how things will change in the next 3, 5, 7, 10 years. That’s the other book that I’d recommend.
Jürgen: That’s great. I have come across that somewhere but I haven’t read it yet. We will post links to those underneath the video in the show notes so our listeners can look those up. Thanks, Govi. If you had a magic wand and could fix one thing in your business right now, what would that be?
Govi: Just one?
Jürgen: Just one.
Govi: If it’s only one thing that I would definitely like to get a strategic investor who has a built-in channel for our product suite. Through that, we can build a lot of things. If it’s just one thing, I would look for a strategic investor who would actually be able to do it. Now, I’m looking and working the channels to get the right kind of company investor. That takes time, as you know. It also has to be done at the right time because I’ve got many investors. I need to make sure that they are happy with the decisions.
We have an amazing business, the technology, the platform and it’s the right space and there right time. It’s being primed up right now. Now is the time. Yeah, when you wave a magic wand, that’s what I would say, a strategic investor.
Jürgen: We’ll see if our listeners can help with that.
Govi: I’ll take any help and guidance, absolutely.
Jürgen: Let’s move on to the innovation round or The Buzz, as we call it here. Basically, it’s five or six questions that hopefully you’ll give us a really sharp answer to and share your insights and really blow away our audience with your answers.
Govi: I’ll try.
Jürgen: What’s the number one thing anyone needs to do to be more innovative?
Govi: The number one thing people need to do to be more innovative is to be connected to the world. When I say the world, it’s all your stakeholders. It doesn’t matter how you connect, connect. You got to get beyond the minds of the people; the suppliers, the competitors, the customers, the end-users, the decision-makers, the whole nine yards, the regulators these days. Stay connected.
Jürgen: That’s great advice, yeah. Be connected to all the stakeholders, great. What’s the best thing that you’ve done to develop new ideas or new products?
Govi: The best thing I’ve done here is actually to create a meaningful dialog with our strategic customers. Because that has driven us to innovate significantly on platforms that never existed before. We were able to take this leaps and bounds and that has happened because of that dialog with strategic customers. The main things will follow but the first thing starts there. Without that, there’s no dialog, no input, no information, no data, no product, all that stuff.
Jürgen: It sounds a little bit familiar from back in the Rohm and Haas days.
Govi: I tell you, internet or no internet, some of the basic concepts of business and building customers and the strategic account management we talked about, that hasn’t changed.
Jürgen: Do you have a tool or a system that you like using for driving innovation or improving productivity or improving the outcomes of innovation?
Govi: I have used tools before in Rohm and Haas and Philips especially, where there’s a combination of Cooper’s Model and Stage Gate, if you have a process, make sure that you go to the decision making. Then we’ve also used things like Six Sigma. If you’ve done Six Sigma, any of the black belt processes. We’ve used those. The company that I’m running today, Jürgen, we just use basic, simple tools like project reviews every Monday; communicate, communicate, communicate. Open dialog, so make sure that everybody is involved. The tools that we use is customer input, market input. Those three things, and the small things are a lot easier.
We have not really put together any tools per se. These are more common sense things. It also is formed by Stage Gate process as I’ve said. If you don’t have a process, things start falling down. One of the things that we have instituted here, the simple processes, like for example, project review process. Everything is reported, you manage all expectations.
Remember this whole thing about project management, on S&OP. We do S&OP on a very small scale, where your supply and demand has to come and you manage the exceptions. We don’t have and MRP tool because we’re a lot smaller. We use smaller tools. We’re just making sure that they are linked and that communication happens with the right people so that the client care people are not totally out of tune from the developers. We just keep that. Largely, we’re a small team so we’re able to pull that together.
Simple tools as communication and making sure you have regular reviews every Monday and make sure you review, and customer dialog. That’s just for now. We’re going to continue looking or keep doing that. When we’re scaling significantly bigger, then we’ll start putting in tools. When we’re hunting people in different parts of the world, then you need to start putting in tools to get connected all the time.
Jürgen: That’s right. It’s amazing, a lot of people forget the fundamentals when they go to the big processes. I think you’re tackling that in a really good way, keep the fundamentals there. Then as you grow bigger, make sure the system is in place that those fundamentals become still core and easier to do perhaps.
Govi: Yeah, and some companies have done some remarkable things with customer relationships and have the dialog. Hopefully, we’ll be able to emulate them and keep that. The good news is, even a small company like ours, we can very quickly ignore customers than when we have some success. You can afford to do that, it doesn’t matter if you have the right customer. Make sure you have the right customer base and then you make sure that you keep talking to them, just have this dialog.
Jürgen: What’s the best way to keep a project or a client on track?
Govi: What we use today is a simple face-to-face review process. Because I don’t have a majority of that big process so we do reviews with customers on a very periodic basis. We set that up and just follow milestones. Where are you on your milestones? That’s very simple, and logical. Technically speaking, we don’t use any rocket science and methodologies here. It’s very basic and very simple.
That’s the process part of it, then there’s also the political aspect of dealing with the customer and how to make sure that you’re working with them and they’re working with you. When we’re small and we’re getting the large client, you can very easily be pushed down the chain. We provide a high-value product. We actually avoid the politics on that. The technical aspect, the political aspect, the cultural aspect, all three of them need to be clear.
Customer relationships therefore become extremely crucial. Make sure that you have a relationship and not just parachute and dialog here and dialog there. Make sure there’s ongoing dialog. I find that when you have an ongoing dialog with a customer, issues tend to get resolved proactively. If you don’t, then every issue becomes a crisis.
Jürgen: Communication is key there, as with most of the answers you’ve given. That’s good. Finally, then what’s the number one thing anyone can do to differentiate themself particularly in a small company like yours?
Govi: For me, it’s very easy, Jürgen. One thing that does differentiate from our competition is just having great team. I cannot stress the importance of having an amazing team, committed, passionate, inspired and inspiring. That’s the whole thing that I would take anybody from my team and you’ll say, “Wow, I want to work with this guy. I want to work with this girl.” That’s number one for success. Everything else follows from there.
Jürgen: That’s great advice.
Govi: I just want to simplify it.
Jürgen: It was one of the challenges you raised earlier on, how to build that, how to sustain that and how to grow it. It is key. That’s great. What do you see is the future for Noveda then?
Govi: We’re on a trajectory right now to build and scale the product suite with several channel partners. We actually have another partnership we just recently signed with a channel partner where we’re going after controls, bringing in some control technologies and incorporating our platform in hardware products. When a streetlight gets sold, it’s packaged with the Noveda platform. It’s like your Samsung laptop comes loaded with an operating system. Very similar, every piece of hardware that goes on will actually have Noveda embedded in it, which is what we want to do.
We’re getting there with smart meters and now with lighting devices and then with the HVAC. That’s what I need to build out. Then it becomes an amazing capability that the minute that gets sold and turned on, we start getting the data. Now, big data becomes bigger data and becomes some of the biggest data. We want to be the game changer in big data when it comes to full building monitoring and controls. That’s using big data, that’s where we want to be.
Having a strategic partner and a strategic investor would help us get to that scale level as well.
Jürgen: It’s terrific. What do you say to those people that worry about this whole idea of big data or the “Big Brother is watching” syndrome and all the concerns about privacy and if we can see everything?
Govi: Valid, valid concerns, I have the same concerns. I’m actually one of them. The challenge there, Jürgen, is not how to prevent it. It’s how do we put safeguards in place so that the data is not used or misused, so to speak. We follow security protocols and the industry’s security protocols. It’s all encrypted, even though it’s in the cloud. By the way, the customer owns the data. When we tap into a customer’s hardware device, our customer owns the data, always.
What they get from us is all the fancy UI with the added advanced alerts with accommodations, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and all of that is encrypted. Doing things right I believe has certain value to it and not taking shortcuts. It may cause a little bit more delay. However, it’s essential to make sure that we do things right that way. That’s number one.
The second thing is if lowering operational cost and lowering covered footprint is on top of our minds, which I think it should be, then we’ll find a way to use this data and mass and energy. We can put in security measures and protocols that wouldn’t have that level of exposure to the data. What you get is just the streamlined piece of data. That’s what we’re doing. We can build in enough safeguards to make sure we’re doing things right.
Part of what I’m also pleased with is this whole internet security movement that started, where people are doing things right. Which I think also has slowed down to some degree the move to the Internet of Things. Because as much as people are talking about smart grid and etcetera, nobody is rushing to it. I mean, it’s being done methodically.
Unlike the smart phone business and personal space stuff, where their personal information, people willingly put in stuff on their phones, they don’t even know that it’s actually being tracked somewhere. The minute you get up and you turn your phone on, there’s a data point that’s being registered. I don’t do that in my business. It just goes in the cloud, it’s on your energy, it’s not in your personal data, it’s not in our building. It’s one of the things that we’ll have to deal with. It will change the rules of engagement in society. Some significant policy shifts will happen. You’ve seen that already at various levels, at the government level, at the sector level.
The move there however for that old, connected plan of things is already under way. The question is, can we do things right so that the data is not misused. That’s one thing that we’ve participated in several dialogs, several forums to make sure that we stay ahead of the game as well in terms of regulations and security and privacy, etcetera.
It’s something that I don’t have answers for. I have more questions than answers right now. Hopefully, we’ll get it together. The good news is that lots of countries around the world are looking at this very actively. It’s not something that is left alone. People are actually very consciously working on this for privacy and security, etcetera.
Jürgen: It’s good to know that there are a lot of forums and a lot of international groups that are looking at this on a global basis. Hopefully, it doesn’t get bogged down in politics or everybody wanting to do their own standards. We can come up with something that’s universally accepted and does have those safeguards that you mentioned.
Jürgen: What do you see is the future for that industry then, and for the Internet of Things?
Govi: What do I see is the future for the industry, specifically if you’re talking about the Internet of Things, my gut feel is I see this connectivity to the individual device increasing at a very rapid pace. Companies will be putting out all these peripherals, if you may, that can talk to one another, can talk to a hub. If you and I are not paying attention, we won’t even know that we are actually being tracked.
By virtue of having your device here, people know all kinds of things now, when did you wake up, when did you sign on, how many emails have you sent, how many websites have you been to, all of that stuff. If you have a location tracker, enable it on Google, then they’ll know where you are at different times, all they can see. How much do you want to give out there? Those things would happen at a very rapid pace.
I also can visualize the regulatory bodies moving on very quickly to put themselves on safeguards, measures, etcetera. I don’t know which will lag one another and that’s a question we need to answer. Because I think countries like Australia, countries in Western Europe, the US and Canada, they’re all looking at guidelines, what you do and where you put devices. I’m not sure they’d be able to stop it. It will be like a gold rush and everybody’s trying to do it.
On the personal side, you will see some rapid, up and down movement in here. The objective would be to make sure everything is connected.
On the business side, believe it or not, things have been happening very steadily over the last several years through exchanges, through sensors, through controlled techniques and all that stuff. It happened on the manufacturing side, it happened on the other side. Now, for me personally, for us in Noveda, we are hoping that this would happen on the energy and water space also pretty quickly. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s happening very slowly. Not because people are afraid of privacy, it’s just energy for whatever reason hasn’t been energy and water particularly, hasn’t been top of mind for a critical mass of people to move the ball forward significantly. We’re pushing the envelope as well.
That will change the dynamic of what I would call the whole monitoring and control space. If you try this whole idea with sustainability, everyone tracking everything, companies wanting to know how much you’re spending and where you’re spending, what is the sustaining body, all that stuff and we’re able to provide the data that the market demanding from companies will help drive our product as well more.
For example, if you say, take any beverage company as an example, any of the large ones, do you see how much water they use in beverages? How much of it is recycled? How much of it is used? How much of the bottle of one beverage, a soft drink, is made up of water that’s coming fresh from technology cycle? Do we know how these are not? Companies are trying to get to those. The way that we’re able to provide the kind of visibility and transparency and granularity into the world of data management, doing that would move much, much faster.
The Internet of Things will open up amazing markets; new businesses, new models, traditional models and monitoring the big space. Because if you look at it, monitoring is essentially the first step towards everything. If you’ve connected a sensor, like you said, your wife gets a form and looks at the data and how much solar and how much electric can be produced from the solar array and how much you’re using it and this and that, that kind of information for everything. How much is your refrigerator using? How much is your washing machine using? If I use my washer and dryer at midnight, maybe you have a better range if you have data on use of electric.
Things like that, algorithms can help you with all that stuff. That would become very powerful. You’ll see now with EV’s, because one of the biggest issues, Jürgen, as you’re aware, is it’s not about having renewable energy, like solar or mini hydro, it’s a question of having energy when we want it, where we want it. Distributive generation would become another big aspect of our lives, of not just having one big central plant but having many small units. A community plant, as an example, that takes waste from our community and generates electric current. Solar, as good as it is, there’s a finite window. If there’s no sun, you’re not going to be able use it. What you have as available source is crucial.
The question of storage becomes a very important issue. When you combine storage and other renewable device and renewable sources, and then you work on efficiency and then you have the smart capability of pulling power wherever we’re closest in a 24/7 cycle and making sure that you’re using it most efficiently, that’s smartness. That becomes really, really critical.
When we get to that part, I think that would be a huge, huge win for us across the board. I think that’s where we’re headed to.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s an exciting possibility. Also, the example you mentioned about soft drink manufacturers. I guess if you take most industries, it’s really generally their highest cost – energy and water. If they’ll looking simply for their own business to reduce cost, there has to be a great application there already.
Govi: Yeah, absolutely.
Jürgen: Then taking that further into that sustainability and all the other benefits as you mentioned.
Govi: It’s huge. Some market and all those things that’s just like at its early stages, very quickly, I’m sure it will balloon into a really, really big business. Big data is something that we believe in and we practice. We’ve been using big data for the past seven years. Now, it’s a question of how do we market it, how do we scale it, which is why a strategic partner investor would make a lot of sense.
Jürgen: All right. Thanks Govi. Now, let’s get to our competition. As I’ve said earlier, Govi has very kindly donated a copy of Peripheral Vision by George Day and Paul Schoemaker. Now, I’ll let Govi explain what we’d like you to do to enter that competition, what comments are we looking for. Take it away.
Govi: Thanks, Jürgen. The concept of Peripheral Vision is the idea of building organizational vigilantes. What I’d like to do is have people read the book obviously and comment on how they can or are using the concept of organizational vigilantes to support their economic, environmental and social strategies. In other words, people use the word sustainability and anti-starvation. If you look at economic goals, your social goals and environmental goals, all three of them, how can you use or how are you using this idea of organizational vigilantes to inform those strategies and drive your business forward.
That’s the link that I want to see. I know it’s a challenge here but that’s what I want.
Jürgen: That’s why we give away the prize, they have to do a little bit of work.
Govi: The book itself actually has some great tools. I like George and Paul’s dialog around, I call this organizational paranoia, but how do you stay vigilante in scanning the environment, probing, analyzing and then acting on it and how do you make that a system so it doesn’t happen just once. It happens continuously. That idea of organizational paranoia, are they going to stay alert? That’s why Peripheral Vision to me is a very powerful idea.
You see, competitive advantage these days has to have a thread of economic, environmental and social strategies. Having that idea tie into it, I believe will help companies become significantly competitive and ready. Giving that link is what I want people to comment on.
Jürgen: That’s great. Leave your comments underneath the video. Of course, the idea here is that we’re all learning from one another. If you have some brilliant insights, then share it with our community here. In a couple of weeks time, I’ll ask Govi to come by and pick the best contribution and award that prize. Sounds good?
Govi: Absolutely. Thanks, Jürgen. Looking forward to it.
Jürgen: In conclusion, what’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who wants to be a leader in innovation and in their industry?
Govi: What advice will I give? I make more mistakes today than I’ve been making before, so hoping I’m learning something from that! The advice I would give goes back to what I’ve talked about before. Don’t make innovation a product of chance. Make sure there is a process, even as informal as it may be, that ties in all the stakeholders in a dialog and that your own associates and employees, so your team, with the market, the competition, your customers, your enablers, your channel partners, all that stuff. That dialog, the communication, that becomes an open-ended thing.
Again, that becomes a very crucial piece of the mechanism that you already put in place. Even if it’s informal, I would tell people, “Do that. Make it open, make it transparent and that will drive innovation dramatically.” Ideation, if you take a look at how ideation happens, we’re taking that down to the next episode, product creation and all that. Having a dialog up front, you’ll prevent a lot of mistakes and also drive a pipeline of ideas that you can put through your file.
Jürgen: That’s great advice. Thanks a lot, Govi. We’ve been going for quite a while now – well over the hour. I really appreciate your time and it’s been a fascinating interview. Where can people reach out and say thank you for what you’ve shared with us today?
Govi: Thanks, Jürgen. Actually, it’s been thrilling to talk to you as well and to reconnect with you. I think at some point, we’ll talk a little bit about the Rohm and Haas days and go back, because to me, it was an amazing learning ground. If you go back to the team that was at Rohm and Haas across the board, the global team, that was just fascinating. I mean, the amount of learning we had there and I’m still in touch with maybe 100 people over there in various networks, which is absolutely fantastic. More than that, I would say.
People can reach me through my website. I have a Twitter account there. I don’t use Facebook as much, although the Make Me Sustainable platform is based on Facebook so they can reach me there as well. The website actually has ample ways of reaching out to me. If people want direct comments and to reach out to me directly, Jürgen, firstname.lastname@example.org always helps. Like I said, I’m usually on email most of the time and I’ll be able to respond to people as well. The website is a great tool to go and check out. There’s a bunch of videos that people can see as well and monitor what we do, etcetera.
Jürgen: That’s right. There’s a YouTube channel, with 40 videos, I think.
Govi: Yeah, and quite a bit of getting this whole education piece out.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s great. All right, we’ll post those links under the video as well. Finally then, Govi, who would you like to see me interview on future podcasts and why?
Govi: In staying with the team, there’s a long list, Jürgen. I won’t give you a list of people. I would start having talk about Peripheral Vision and to your viewers bring home the idea of this peripheral vision and this organizational vigilance. I would recommend you talk to Paul Schoemaker. I haven’t talked with Paul in a while but I’m sure he would add value to the show. He’s got an amazing track record of innovative ideas. I’ve actually leveraged his capability. He’s come and helped me in a couple of instances specifically to drive change and to actually make it happen. Those were even large companies in the industry. We actually tried to make an industry change with Paul, this whole concept of organizational vigilance.
My recommendation is Paul would be a great start. I would definitely have you recommend to talk to George Day as well after that, but start with Paul. It’s a great first step. Then I’m going to give you a longer list of organizational leaders and innovative entrepreneurs who were actually doing this. Start with Paul and I’ll give you a list of names for you to follow up on.
Jürgen: Excellent. That’s great. Thanks, Govi. Paul, look out. I’ll be in touch with you to invite you to our future podcast. Thanks so much, Govi. It’s really been great to catch up with you and learn about Noveda and what you’re up to there and all the exciting plans and vision that you have and particularly learning about how you inspire the team and keep them motivated. That’s one of the gems and takeaways for me today.
I wish you all the best at Noveda and I’m sure I’ll be hearing more and more about it. I’ll certainly keep in touch. Thank you again for being on the podcast.
Govi: Thank you, Jürgen. Thanks for the invitation. Thanks for having me. It’s a great dialog. I love the InnovaBuzz model by the way. Thank you so much. It’s been a great discussion. Like I said, if you would need further information on anything I’ve talked about, feel free. If any of your users or viewers are looking for help as well with information, and vice versa. I’m going to reach out as well because we’re learning as we go along and it’s a journey. I could use a lot of help and guidance as we build this team here as well. Thank you again for the opportunity. Great reconnecting.
Jürgen: Thanks, Govi.
Govi: Have a great day. Thanks, Jürgen. Cheers.
Jürgen: Bye-bye. Thanks.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Govi as much as I enjoyed interviewing him on the podcast. It was great to catch up with him again and find out more about Noveda Technologies
He is still an extremely energetic, driven, passionate and intelligent person clearly inspiring a great team at Noveda.
Of course, you can subscribe to this Podcast via iTunes or Stitcher, so that you’ll never miss a future episode.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/govirao, that is G-O-V-I-R-A-O, all lowercase, all one word, innovabiz.com.au/govirao for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode. Remember, leave your comments underneath the video for your chance to win a copy of Peripheral Vision by George Day and Paul Schumacher.
Leave a comment under the video and tell how you are tying your economic goals, your social goals and environmental goals, to the idea of using organizational vigilantes to inform those strategies and drive your business forward. If you leave a comment under the video, I’ll get Govi to swing by in a few weeks and award that prize.
Govi nominated Paul Schumacher, the co-author of Peripheral Vision, to be on a future podcast. So, Paul, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast!
If you like these podcast episodes, please give us a five star review over at iTunes. It really does help to get more listeners and to share this information with a bigger audience. And I really do want to share these gems, that people so generously share with us on the podcast with as many people as I can.
So, Until next time.
Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and innovate on!