Janaki Joshi: Stepping Up and Embedding Innovation in the DNA for Customers

In this highly competitive business world, the success of any company is reliant on three key factors: ability to innovate, discipline to implement and an adept commercialization of the product or service. Businesses that excel in these key factors can thrive on a global scale.

The biggest challenge for innovation is cherry picking the right ideas and achieving launch success by aligning cross functional teams. This requires real time access to information as the innovation progresses through the stages of commercialization. However, keeping the cross functional team aligned on the same page is impossible without an innovation platform that provides real time information on the feasibility or issues that occur along the way to launch.

For the last twenty-five years, New York based company Iris Interactive is enabling its customers to transform new ideas into successful brands through its secure collaboration platform that fosters excellence in innovation, commercialization and execution.

Meet Janaki Joshi, the CEO and prime innovator behind Iris Interactive. Under Janaki’s leadership, Iris and its cloud based solutions are empowering its customers to bring innovative products faster to market.

The solutions developed by Janaki and her team provide complete insights to the entire company. R&D, manufacturing, product management, marketing, finance and sales can manage end-to-end innovation and achieve breakthrough success in product commercialization. The company revolutionizes the innovation process through the Iris Innovation Hub, the virtual platform, by making both open as well as and challenge-based innovation part of the DNA of its customers., Iris has a proven track record in helping hundreds of large, mid-size and small size companies. In the last two decades, Iris has helped companies transform their innovation and product commercialization with unparalleled success across 25 countries.

Curiosity, Converting an Idea into a Venture 

Back in the 1990’s, during the early stages of her career, Janaki was trained as an accountant and had opportunities to work in large consumer, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications companies. During this time, Janaki witnessed the need for technology in innovation and product commercialization. She recognized that although there were automated systems to track every activity related to accounts, essential processes like innovation and product commercialization were managed in an ad-hoc manner leading to wasted investment, resources, reduced chances of success and loss of competitive advantage.

Janaki’s curiosity and vision to bridge this gap led to the formation of Iris Interactive. Realizing the need and potential of the technology Janaki along with her team created a system that helps the entire company achieve faster time-to-market, higher sales and stronger brands.

While describing about the innovation powered approach of Iris Interactive Janaki notes, “Our philosophy is to innovate and stay ahead of the curve both technically and in the way we engage with customers.” The company aims to deliver exceptional value to customers by understanding the factors driving their business, and envisions making a difference with the Iris Interactive platform in the way they innovate and commercially succeed in their markets.

Shifting Gears of Entrepreneurship 

Janaki asserts vision, passion, authenticity, perseverance and respect are five attributes that are a must for a business leader of the 21st century. According to Janaki norms of entrepreneurship are changing. She believes we live in the age of transparency where even an intern in the company can find out crucial things about their leader and have a choice to be part of an organization or not. Hence, it is an absolute must for a leader to lead from the front and win the heart of every team player.

Stepping up Beyond Stereotypes 

A globally successful entrepreneur Janaki claims, “We still live in patriarchal society which is a byproduct of our agricultural heritage, and so the challenge stems from how men and women relate to each other not just at work but also at home and in other social interactions.” Women wiling to prove their mettle in business world are expected to be a great mother, wife and a leader. It creates external pressure on them and sometimes weakens their will power. However, Janaki highlights the landscape is now changing with the millennials not relating to the stereotypes. Thus, things will be different for women a decade or two from now. This shift is extremely positive as it will enable women to own their power. They will step up to the challenge and will speak up, breaking old stereotypes to become more open minded and acceptable to the change. In order to catalyze this, Janaki advises budding women entrepreneurs to believe in themselves even when everyone around them is doubtful, be bold and follow their vision. She encourages them not to be afraid to fail, as failure in the first attempt is a stepping stone for success in the next venture. She exclaims, “The future is promising, so go forth and make a difference!”

Work and Life Balance for All 

Janaki is driven by the vision to alter the corporate environment as it has become more stressful and everyone is looking for work life balance. She believes technology can empower teams to work from anywhere, connecting them with key activities and strategic initiatives in realtime, which will assuredly help in finding the work life balance. She is passionate to fuel such environment in Iris. She has managed to transform the work environment for managers to telecommuting and coming to work only 1-3 days a week, making meetings shorter and more effective. It is satisfying for her personally and professionally as this customer centric and employee centric approaches kept Iris way ahead of its competition even after 20 years of its inception.

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