Why innovation should address customer pain and 'make them smile'
A passion for the customer journey and entrepreneurship, and a background in stakeholder management and product development, might point to Sydneysider Nishant Gambani being not your typical Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) program graduate.
Yet despite his tertiary education and wealth of commercial and volunteer experience in the space over many years, Nishant took a characteristically entrepreneurial approach, saying he was excited to come at the Digital Internship: Tech Central program he completed recently with ‘fresh eyes’.
“I’m constantly seeking to expand my knowledge and upskill myself,” Nishant explained when we asked him for feedback on his experience. “I love working to understand the challenges faced by startups or companies and exploring how to address them by leveraging my problem solving and analytical skills.
“Throughout this program, I had the privilege of working on various problems and challenges being faced by real-world early-stage startups, which was really exciting.”
Exploration and immersion, at your own pace
The Digital Internship Program’s exercises and assignments provide all learners with the chance to immerse themselves in the world of startups, at their own pace. Over the course of the program, they explore ideation, market research, and strategic planning to establish the right product-market fit, and work out how those can be applied to the problems that are faced by not just the participating startups, but with clients and customers the world over.
The virtual format of the program particularly appealed, with Nishant reflecting that “it not only allowed me to overcome geographical barriers but also to complete assignments at my own pace.”
When asked for feedback on the program structure, Nishant elaborated. “It was really well-structured as we moved from the founders’ problem statements through studying and understanding all the concepts, the assignments, and onto the quiz element…all of which helped me learn about the companies quicky and easily.
“After completing each of the assignments,” he added, “it was great to be able to view the sample responses from each of the founders’ perspectives to understand whether my responses were aligned with what was expected from the assignments.”
What does innovation mean to you?
Nishant’s perspective on innovation was also refreshing. “To me,” he said, “innovation can actually be a very simple idea, but it necessarily needs to address the pain points of a customer and – here’s the important part – bring a smile to their face whenever they think about your product.”
And how to make that happen? “One of the key foundations of innovation is talking to your customers on a regular basis, which helps you to not only view but really consider problem/s through their lens in order to understand them better. It also helps you to be more creative when it comes to providing solutions.”
Overcoming customer problems through entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship comes next, according to Nishant. “Once a customer need or problem has been identified and plausible solutions developed, ‘entrepreneurship’ is in the executing and implementing of those solutions in a way that helps to alleviate that customer’s pain,” adding that “[i]t is also about validating your hypothesis/idea in the market and understanding whether it is actually solving any problem and – importantly! – whether there is a product-market fit or not.”
Nishant was enthusiastic about how he planned to apply learnings from the program, too, saying he now felt better equipped to navigate the various challenges faced in the tech consulting environment in which he works.
“By understanding the core requirements and unique visions for business stakeholders from various fields (finance, operations, marketing), I’m better able to define problem statements succinctly and – most importantly – empathise with the customers to help clients and/or businesses in building and launching effective solutions in the market.”
“The microcredential is great; it’s helped me refresh my LinkedIn profile and enabled me to add more skills to my profile. Thank you, SSE, for your unwavering support, guidance, and encouragement throughout this virtual internship journey!”