Master series: JANAKI KUMAR

This is the sixth episode in a mini-series, between season 1 and 2 of True North, called the ‘Master Series’.

Loop11’s co-founder Shefik Bey speaks with Janaki Kumar, the VP Head of Design and Co-Innovation Center at SAP and the author of ‘Gamification At Work: Designing Engaging Business Software”.  Janaki has also been a past winner  and board member of the premier independent UX Awards, which will be held on November 8-9, 2017, in Palo Alto CA. To find out how to enter the awards, and other important dates, listen to the episode or go to

They also discuss her Woman of Influence Award and what it meant (2:20), what she feels her strength and decision that led to her position in the industry (3:37) and how innovation lies at the seams of multiple disciplines (5:52) and how this aided her. Janaki’s key area of focus at SAP (8:40) and how she has ended up working in the enterprise (13:20) and why she loves the challenges it presents. The degree and rate of change within the enterprise as it relates to embracing design (16:41). How the creation process requires skillset and mindset and how a good understanding of design principles relate to this (18:21).

The increasingly complex nature of the challenges that are being tackled by designers (19:38). The co-creation exercise Janaki ran with the Vilore warehouse staff emphasizing empathy and inclusion (21:06). How to tackle the problem of scaling empathy (27:10) and creating an empathy map to engage stakeholders (30:15). How are enterprise companies managing the balance between convergent and divergent thinking (33:27). Creating a culture of design led innovation and how organization should try to implement this (37:30). SAP’s framework for an innovation culture riding on the three pillars of people, process and place (43:50).

Janaki’s history with the UX Awards as a board member, advisor and past winner (50:52) plus how she defines great UX and references the “Hero’s Journey”. Whether the design industry understands how to implement and leverage gamification (55:00) within product design. Areas of work processes which a primed for the inclusion of gamification elements (58:17).

You can follow Janaki on Twitter or Medium.

Janaki mentioned this website to gauge how innovative your organisation is -

Follow Shefik Bey on Twitter - @shefikbey