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Jan 18, 2023

Innovation in a Recession: Himanshu Bharadwaj, Centime Inc.

The last two years have shown many of us the value of innovation. The ability to accommodate surprises, discover effective solutions quickly, and strategically think about navigating an unknown future has helped certain businesses and leaders to stand out among the rest. In our podcast series, Innovation in a Recession, we’re speaking with leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and more to get their perspectives on how companies should be thinking about their innovation strategy in 2023.


By Alex Pavlou

Founder - I help organizations and startups scale their teams.

Himanshu Bharadwaj has over two decades of experience in the design space. His journey began in India, where he spent time exploring science, cartooning, painting, and spirituality. Design school led him to roles in graphic design and advertising, and after earning a Master’s Degree from Syracuse University, he explored digital advertising, branding, product design, marketing, and more for the next two decades. With expansive startup experience, he has often played a role in surviving tough economic times for organizations. 

Himanshu provides us with a robust conversation not only specifying the roles that creativity and design play in innovation, but the importance of staying in touch with passion during a recession. With spiritual and philosophical insights, this is a podcast episode well worth listening to. Below, find three of the many insights we gained from our conversation with Himanshu and be sure to hear all of his inspiring ideas here.


The Philosophy of Loss

Recessions can mean profit loss, layoffs, instability, and more. Himanshu reminds us that loss is necessary for growth, personal development, and learning. 

“We lose money, we lose jobs, but these losses teach us something: Time is the biggest currency we all have. And if we invest our time into improving ourselves, even these losses would not deter us from the final goal."

- Himanshu Bharadwaj, VP Experience Design at Centime, Inc.

"These losses will come and go," Himanshu continues. "Just as there is always a night, and then there is a morning. There will always be the cyclical repetitions of wins and losses.”


Company Support During Recessions

Everyone will experience their version of the upcoming recession. Its effect will not be limited. With this knowledge in mind, can we expect companies to think outside of profit margins and care about the people who operate their business? 

“I think it all comes down to culture. And culture is deeply rooted in an organization. What is the DNA of the company? Is the DNA of the company to just hire and fire people? Or is the DNA of the company to keep employees for a long time and grow them into not just good employees, but better human beings. And at the same time, design leaders or leaders across various disciplines, also need to understand the human aspect of management. Management is not just managing people to get work out of them. Management is being considerate towards every human being, being like a coach.”


Staying in Touch with Innovation

Many organizations want to know if innovation should remain a priority during a recession. Is that a possibility? Himanshu thinks that innovation is always possible in the right company culture.

“First think about positive cash flow - stay above the surface so that you can breathe and treat people like human beings. Create a culture where innovation can happen and innovation happens through creative collision. There is a whole concept of creative collision where you have to allow for conflicting ideas within a team. And once you have juxtaposition of different conflicting ideas, it creates something new.”

With these insights in mind, Himanshu shares one final point that stood out to us. Innovation is not something that one person can create


“In order to create innovation, you need people and the company both working together.”

- Himanshu Bharadwaj, VP Experience Design at Centime, Inc.


Stay tuned and subscribe for more insights from industry leaders as organizations manage navigation business and operations through a recession.

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