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Physical Proximity & Innovation: SVP Vijay Sondhi Talks About Innovation Pillars at Visa

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Fifty executives from innovation, R&D and Strategy took a tour of the Visa Innovation Center in San Francisco as part of the Innovation Leader’s   Field Study event. The field study took members to a number of corporate innovation spaces to discuss topics in a small, informal setting.

 Photo by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerPhoto by Innovation Leader - Breanna Baker

 

 

As noted by Scott Kirsner (co-founder of Innovation Leader), regarding why Visa was selected for February’s Field Study, “We look for companies where they’re doing really good work on a variety of innovation and R&D projects. It’s cool Visa has concrete demos to show folks, which includes more topics than just the future of payments and commerce.”

 

 The group began their day by joining Senior Vice President of Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Vijay Sondhi, in a Fireside Chat. He explained how the innovation center has been set up to create an inspiring and innovative atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerPhoto by Innovation Leader - Breanna Baker

 

 “Everything in this building is open office,” said Sondhi.

 

The Innovation Center opened its doors two years ago at One Market Center. Sondhi said the influx of technology companies and startups disrupting the payments industry in downtown San Francisco helped to determine the location of the innovation center. For Sondhi when innovating:

 

“Isolation is bad. Insulation is good. Insulation is good because if you’re part of the status quo, you’re not going to change anything.”    

 
Sondhi mentioned that the location has made it easier to recruit top talent in San Francisco. Also, the strategy for hiring, includes the skillset of contributors which are consistently able to deliver on Visa’s three Pillars of Innovation: Engagement, experience and collaboration.

 

 

 

Photo by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerPhoto by Innovation Leader - Breanna Baker

 

 

“These three pillars resonate through the co-creation workshops which clients attend with the Visa Innovation team,” noted Sondhi. Together, clients and Visa team members build prototypes to help address their real-world needs.

 

Sondhi explained that not only do clients get the experience of working alongside Visa’s best and brightest—they’re also able to connect with Visa’s C-level leaders, who are based in the same building as the Innovation Center.

 

Photo by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerPhoto by Innovation Leader - Breanna Baker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We moved the entire management team closer, just for this reason. I can grab our CEO, CFO at the drop of a hat.  If we have an important client visiting, they can stop by. That physical connectivity is important for building business relationships. Clients love it,” said Sondhi.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerPhoto by Innovation Leader - Breanna BakerKirsner said this helps Visa stand out. “It’s great. At some innovation centers, C-level executives can be too detached, which may cause problems. However, having them in such close proximity here, speaks volumes to the business about what they value and want to offer to their customers—innovation,” he said.

  

 

The Q&A ended with Sondhi sharing his point of view on the most important lesson to learn from customer metrics and innovation.

 

“You need to go outside of the office to obtain credibility with your clients,” Sondhi said. “The key metric to ask ourselves ishave we improved the perception of innovation at Visa?”

 

 

Read more about what the Visa Innovation team is working on.

 

 

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