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The Spark of Passion ignites the fuel for innovation

It takes a spark to light a fire. Likewise, it takes IPL’s EMBA program to shift gears in your thought process and career. Mr. Chetan Prahlada [Product Owner, NextGen Healthcare, EMBA 2016 B Batch] shares his story of how IPL was instrumental in his career transformation. Here is his journey, in his own words.

I'm delighted to share the impact [IPL’s] EMBA in Product Leadership had on me at the end of two semesters. I was sceptical joining the course, not knowing what to expect. The start was not great, with petty challenges looming like mountains before me and taunting me about the choice I'd made.

As time passed, it started to sink in that I had gotten myself into some serious business and had two choices before me. Either I could put up with it or make it a part of me and take the bull by the horns. Although the decision was against my liking, I chose the latter. Looking back, I would have regretted if I had decided on the former.

Q: The Creativity Explosion

The best thing that happened was that all the doubts I had were being cleared with every session that I attended, and every class was an eye opener. It built an anticipation of learning something new. The one class I cherish the most is the one on Creativity and Innovation by Pavan Soni. It taught me that it's not intelligence that makes people stand out, but imagination that makes a person more creative. With every passing session, I became a different person altogether. I understood the varying degrees of creativity in people, and how, where and when creative people get ideas and I started to look inwards to find mine. An explosion of sorts took place within me and my head was bursting with ideas. It became so intense that it compelled me to take some action. But I never understood what I could do with this new-found power and how to contain it.

Q: From thought to action

That is when when I started searching for avenues to put my thoughts into action. I wondered why I couldn’t put my ideas to use in my own company, NextGen Healthcare. The timing was apt as the company was moving towards an innovation culture with an all new leadership team taking charge and new processes being formulated. I initiated conversations with every top leader who visited NextGen’s ‘Bangalore Development Centre’ from the head office in the United States, on introducing and building an innovation culture @NextGen. This had a small impact and eventually they started a forum for innovation on a common platform. But with time, it became second priority and the innovation forum took a back seat.

I was disappointed with the lack of proper backup even from my local leadership. Yet I did not leave the effort to make it a reality. A new director for my team was announced and as the name was revealed to me, I was excited to know that it was an old colleague. I sought an opportunity to share my plan. Thankfully, he encouraged me to take it up and also started to participate actively. Voila! I was entrusted with setting up an Innovation Forum and try out a pilot with my own team of product owners and BAs (Business Analysts).

A newly minted Innovation Evangelist

I can now confidently say that I've begun my journey as an ‘innovation evangelist’ as one of our professors Pavan Soni calls it. Though I'm not an expert in the subject yet, I believe I'm embarking on this journey of exploring the creativity and innovation culture by actually practising it. And with time and the right guidance from fellow classmates and my professors, I believe I'll be successful in this endeavour. As of now, I've conducted three weekly face-to-face meetings with my entire team. An interesting thing to note is that my 24-member team is influenced without authority because the initiative was very interesting. The team is actively participating in this initiative. All of us realize that there is a great potential for this initiative and there is still so much to do. We are coming up with a charter for gathering ideas and putting an innovation process in place, and trying to figure out how best to align this initiative with the existing PDLC process we have.

Chetan’s experience is truly one of inspiration and value. There is a lot to learn from every person’s experience in the institute and it is this very aspect that adds the most value to the curriculum at IPL.


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