Hump Day Exchange: Listen & Learn

In a twist on the Hump Day Exchange model, this month's episode dives deep with a single speaker: Bal Bansal, Associate Director of IT Innovation and Digital at Coca-Cola European Partners. 

Raised in Nottingham, England by Punjabi parents, Bal has an eclectic background that includes IT, HR, a Six Sigma Black Belt, stints at Kodak, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, and Coca-Cola. Sandbox ATL collaborated with him to host a conversation on the importance of listening and learning through every stage of your career. Listen in to the conversation and see 5 of Bal's tips for successful innovation below. 

5 Tips for Successful Innovation from Bal Bansal

1.     Everyone wants to tell their own stories. How often do you stop and really listen? As Bal explains, “I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”

2.     Always prioritize your customers’ needs over your own. Kodak designed the first digital camera in 1978. But their biggest motivation was to sell film, so they locked away the design—giving Nikon and Canon’s innovation teams time to catch up. Customers were clamoring for a way to see their photos faster, but Kodak wasn’t listening. And in short order, the company went under.


3.     Break down your customers’ wants in as simple of terms as possible. Have them tell you a story, because those transcend language and background. Better yet, use visuals.

4.     Stop what you’re doing. Take a minute to understand what it is you’re delivering. Assess: Are your customers happy? Are there any risks in your model? Who's positioned to disrupt you? What do you need to do to grow?

5.    Collaborate!  You’re very clever, but you might not have all the answers. Whatever scenario you're in, talk to each other, share what you do.  

Presented in partnership between Sandbox ATLATDC, and GT's Scheller College of Business

Want to be part of the next Hump Day Exchange? Check the event calendar for tickets so you can attend the next time it gathers. It's held the second Wednesday from 5-7pm in The Garage under Tech Square.