Winning Stroke: Interview with Rajeev Agarwal, CEO, Innoviti

I don’t think I have yet been able to contribute back to society for my life to be worth being turned into a movie. Still if it were, I would love to see Irfan Khan play my part.


If not in the current Profession, you would be?

I have loved doing whatever I have done, every day of my life.  Very early in my career, there was a time when I wanted to become an industrial designer. I even filled up NID, Ahmedabad’s application form.  Just didn’t have the courage to send it out.  If life were to start all over again, I just might post the application this time.

One tune you always hum?

O re majhi from the classic Bimal Roy movie Bandini, composed by S. D. Burman.

One Book to read when you want to motivate yourselves?

Made in Japan by Akio Morita.   It’s amazing how that company created hope in probably one of the most difficult times in post-war Japan.  How it faced failure several times and reinvented itself to become an iconic brand in the 80s.

One Dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most?

Mark Watney, The Martian.

At some point, everything's gonna go south on you... everything's going to go south and you're going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.

The Place you never been to and always want to go?

Norway to see the Aurora Borealis.  It is the most beautiful expression of electro-magnetic interactions happening at a massive scale visible to the human eye.

An animal that signifies you & why?

A horse.  A horse has an amazing ability to navigate.  They can move fast if speed is required or move slowly when the surface is treacherous.  They have a tremendous ability to focus irrespective of the obstacles on the way.

A Movie Character you most resemble or resonate with?

Choose one from each below:

a.       Marvel or DC - DC

b.       Batman or Superman - Batman

c.       Tom or Jerry – Jerry

d.       Chacha Chaudhary or Super Commando Dhruv – Chacha Chaudhary

If your life was to be turned into a movie who would you like to play your part?

I don’t think I have yet been able to contribute back to society for my life to be worth being turned into a movie.  Still if it were, I would love to see Irfan Khan play my part.

Luck or Hard Work, What do you think weighs more in defining a successful Person?

Both are needed; however, Hard Work surely comes first.  There is a tremendous amount of hard work required, but a bit of luck on the side can make the journey that much more enjoyable. I think luck has a way of finding out people who are working hard and really want to succeed and then comes by and gives them a helping hand.

One best decision you ever made?

Staying in India after graduation.  Virtually every batchmate of mine went abroad for further studies and most settled abroad.  I am glad I stayed in India.  I got to see first-hand the way India transformed itself multiple times within a generation.  That gave me tremendous hope and confidence into contributing to this transformation in a small way.

A strategy that you always use to take your decisions in Personal or Professional life?

While taking decisions I try to imagine the morning I will wake up after the decision has been taken.  The impact may be good or bad for me and the people’s whose lives I may have affected through it.  What I try to imagine is whether I will feel proud of the decision.   That becomes the guiding strategy for me, whether I will feel proud of it tomorrow.

Whose advise you to seek when in dilemma?

My late father.  I always imagine having a conversation with him when faced with a dilemma.  He just helps me clear up my own thoughts and echo the decision I wanted to take but probably was not clear about.

What has been your biggest achievement?

We were faced with a crisis in the business about 6 years back.  A crisis of unprecedented levels which had the ability to virtually destroy the business created.  There were many people who advised me to stop the business.  There were others who were making fun of us.  All felt that since there was a crisis, if I decided to abandon the business no one would blame me.  It was an extremely taxing period.  Virtually every day I was being reminded of my inadequacies.  My biggest achievement was to keep hope, confidence, and optimism alive within myself and my team.  We fought through that negativity, day after day, week after week and could bring the business back to its former glory and more.

One thing that you want to change in yourself?

There are several things I would want to change.  The single biggest would be appreciating that just because someone is agreeing on one point me with me, does not mean the person may not completely disagree on another point.  I sometimes find it difficult to fathom how on one point two of us could have matching views and on another completely differing ones.

A line said by your closed one that you never forget?

My father led a tough life to give me the kind of education and support that has brought me to where I am today.  He had wanted to be an entrepreneur but life’s daily struggles left him with no time to pursue his dream.  He had retired when I decided to start off on my own.  When he heard about it he said, “ I am so happy to see you living two dreams – yours and mine.”  That was very motivating.  

Tags assigned to this article:
Winning Stroke


Around The World