Interview with Lokesh Nigam, Co-Founder and Director of Kognoz

Lokesh Nigam

An exclusive interview with Lokesh Nigam, Co-Founder and Director of Kognoz, India’s leading technology driven people consulting company

Welcome to this exclusive interview with Mr. Lokesh Nigam, a visionary leader and the Co-Founder and Director of Kognoz, India’s foremost technology-driven people consulting company. With a distinguished career spanning decades, Mr. Nigam has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of human resources and talent management in India.

His innovative approach to harnessing technology to solve complex HR challenges has not only propelled Kognoz to the forefront of the industry but has also earned him recognition as a thought leader in the field. In this interview, we delve into Mr. Nigam’s insights, experiences, and the journey that has led him to establish Kognoz as a trailblazer in the realm of people consulting.

Join us as we gain a deeper understanding of his perspectives on the evolving dynamics of the workforce and the role of technology in shaping the future of HR.

Tell us about your journey and what motivated you to co-found Kognoz

Lokesh Nigam: My journey has been a blend of valued experiences that have come together to shape my life as it is today. It all started with my short stint in the armed forces, where I gained crucial life skills like discipline and adaptability. These skills have been pivotal in driving my entrepreneurial pursuits.

I come from an engineering background, which equipped me with a logical and analytical approach to problem-solving. This engineering mindset has been a key asset in delving into challenges deeply and finding innovative solutions.

My curiosity about human behavior led me to study behavioral science. This opened up insights into how the human mind works and the behaviors that guide our actions. I became skilled at spotting patterns and understanding how people interact, which became an essential part of my approach to solving problems.

In hindsight, I realise that consulting came naturally to me due to my innate love for problem-solving. Additionally, I’ve always had a strong passion for entrepreneurship.

Kognoz represents the culmination of my journey thus far. The name itself embodies our core  – fusing knowledge, cognition, and technology. At Kognoz, our aim is to enable decisions rooted in behavioral science, offering straightforward yet effective answers to our clients’ challenges.

Our distinct approach, merging insights from behavioral science with technological prowess, defines our identity, and we’re eager to continue nurturing and expanding this unique character.

Kognoz is known for its innovative approach. How did you identify the need for technology integration in the field of people consulting, and how does it set Kognoz apart from traditional consulting firms?

Lokesh Nigam: Our strength lies in synthesis – the art of weaving together ideas to gain a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ situations. What truly sets us apart is our dual commitment: not only do we help mitigate client challenges, but we also equip our clients with invaluable knowledge to confidently navigate their future endeavours.

Our approach is far from isolated – it seamlessly unites consulting, behavioral science, and technology into a harmonious whole. This synergy yields sharp insights that lead to the path towards well-informed decisions.

By integrating insights from behavioral science, we devise interventions that resonate across functions – from HR, strategy, marketing or anywhere, where people decisions are involved. Our in-house technology solutions drive the wave of digitization, thoughtfully resolving operational and strategic complexities, currently in the hiring domain.

Through technology rooted in behavioral science principles, we offer elegant solutions that empower our clients. At each juncture, we empower our clients with meticulously researched knowledge, ensuring they move forward with unwavering assurance – enabling their decisions.

Kindly brief us about your company, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Lokesh Nigam: Kognoz breathes with the relentless purpose of maximising human potential. Our mission is laser-focused – delivering precise solutions and enabling informed decisions that span people, practice, and technology. Every facet of our approach is meticulously curated, fueled by the fusion of behavioral and organizational science entwined with design thinking, yielding outcomes of unparalleled excellence.

Our core belief at Kognoz is that through the synthesis of design thinking, and behavioral and organizational science, we can catalyse latent potential within both individuals and organizations.

Our consulting landscape is a dynamic canvas where we craft solutions that cut across crucial domains: organization, leadership, culture, customer experience, employee experience, learning, and business operations. Beyond this, we forge potent alliances with technology partners, facilitating the seamless adoption of fitting HRMS and learning platforms.

At the forefront of innovation stands our cutting-edge conversational AI platform, revolutionizing hiring, screening, and interviewing processes by rendering manual interventions obsolete. Kognoz isn’t merely a space; it’s a dynamic pulse, and I am proud to be a part of this journey.

Technology is rapidly changing industries. How does Kognoz leverage technology to enhance its people consulting services and create value for clients?

Lokesh Nigam: At Kognoz, we harness technology as a force multiplier. The integration of behavioral and organizational science, coupled with design thinking, lays the foundation for our solutions. This bedrock is then amplified by technology to create bespoke strategies that resonate deeply with our clients’ unique needs.

Our technology-driven interventions span an array of critical aspects. From organizational dynamics and culture to leadership development, employee experience to customer engagement, we meticulously craft strategies powered by research, data-backed insights, and technological innovation.

Additionally, our strategic collaborations with technology partners enable us to seamlessly implement solutions, fostering efficiency and effectiveness within organizations.

As noted previously, a hallmark of our technological prowess is our advanced conversational AI platform. This platform redefines the landscape of recruitment, automating and streamlining processes from hiring to interviewing, unleashing unprecedented efficiency and accuracy.

In essence, Kognoz thrives on the synergy of behavioral and organizational science and technology. This confluence empowers us to deliver forward-looking people consulting services and decision enablers.

Every organization has unique challenges. How does Kognoz ensure that its technology-driven solutions are customized to address the specific needs of each client?

Lokesh Nigam: The thing with technology is that it evolves. It evolves faster than most of our actions today. So, there is no time to delve into stuff that is even recent past. We literally do not live in the past. Everything we do is current, seeded in the now.

Each program and client situation is new to us, no matter how many times we have addressed similar problems in the past. It helps us remain nimble and agile. While others may take pride in their aged solutions and practices, we take pride in our emergent solutions – always designed in the “now” context.

We believe in co-creating solutions with our clients that are not only based on industry best practices but are also adapted to the specific context and aspirations of each organization we work with. What this means is that technology is contextual, current, and evolving.

We innovate and create newer approaches around the current constraints. That is how we think and implement technology.

Implementing new technology often requires change management. How does Kognoz support clients in ensuring the smooth adoption of technology solutions among their workforce?

Lokesh Nigam: Behavior shift is critical to implementing any solution or technology. Behaviors are micro, and in general change management approaches are quite gross and macro. We, at Kognoz, devised a micro-change methodology based on behavioral science that focuses on habit-forming adoption and communication methods.

We understand change as a subject very deeply, thanks to our background in science and we like to work with it at a habit level rather than a program level. The problem with most change management approaches is that they are mere program management –missing the nuances of human behavior and therefore adversely impacting technology implementation and adoption.

To give an example – the usage of technology and apps during COVID-19, though a bad time for humanity, the technology adoption in the population grew manifold – due to a forced change in habits. In an organizational context, we need to form nuanced methodologies for habit change – and we call it micro-change.

Are there specific tools or approaches that Kognoz employs to measure and improve employee satisfaction and overall work experience?

Lokesh Nigam: For long we have believed that maximizing human potential requires autonomy, desired skills, a raring purpose coupled with a psychologically safe workplace and institutionalised psychological and physical well-being focus. We designed “Immerse” a path-breaking employee engagement approach that focuses on self-determination and creating an environment of immersion – immersion to purpose and well-being.

In other words, we help with enabling the Ikigai for people at an organizational level. Deeply informed by the psychology of flow and behavioral science this helps organizations rethink engagement and experience. We help organizations measure and take actions to create more immersive and flow-based ecosystems and experiences.

For those aspiring to excel in the intersection of technology and people management, what advice would you give based on your experience in co-founding and leading Kognoz?

Lokesh Nigam: Well, three of those: 1) Question everything, observe, reflect, and learn relentlessly – let each day be a new day, helping you understand the world a little better. 2) Synthesise learning – bringing the domain of people management and technology into one seamless view, and 3) Be generous in distributing what you learn – the more you distribute, the more you learn!

What are your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Lokesh Nigam: Just do it! People will tell you their version of the truth. But never yours. You need to witness your own truth – one step at a time. Most importantly slow down– focus on the right actions. As the right actions will bring the right results.

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