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Interview

In conversation with… Lopamudra Roy, CEO and Founder – Road Not Taken

Hey Lopamudra – It is great to have a word with you. Hope you are having a fantastic day today. We would like to know in detail about your professional background.

I am the Founder-CEO of Road Not Taken, we are into research-based people centric business solutions. We bring our understanding of human psyche to build meaningful solutions for our clients by studying the deeper motivations and anxieties of the target customer. I also work as an Executive Editor of The Mother, a web-based spirituality magazine. I am one of the founding members of the National Marketing Council of WICCI (Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), an industry thinktank to help promote thought leadership for women in marketing and business.

In the past, I have led the Innovation Arm (BASES), Consumer Neuroscience and Customized Research for Nielsen North. I have spent a few years in Unilever managing research for their skin care portfolio which includes global brands such as Fair & Lovely (now Glow & Lovely), Pond’s and Vaseline. I have also led new businesses for Third Eye, a boutique Qualitative Research organization.

It is great to understand about your professional background. We are keen to know what inspired you to leave your job to become an entrepreneur?

I quote from our ancient Indian scripture – nālpe sukhamasti bhūmaiva sukhaṃ (there is no happiness in alpa or less, happiness lies in chasing the infinite!)

I was always inspired by a largeness of vision. For this, I wanted to apply my understanding of human psyche to a much broader spectrum, beyond just consumer research. At Road Not Taken, we use research tools and techniques to apply to human-centric solutions to achieve any meaningful task. For example, we are in the process of launching a research based engagement module that combines Psychology, Neuroscience and ancient Indian Philosophy to explore and build on one’s Happiness Foundation. The product is called Q denoting our eternal quest for something deeper and larger. With this product, our larger goal is to impact the per capita Happiness Quotient. While the starting point is always Research, but we take the Research findings to its logical next step of building creative solutions towards a larger goal.

Please tell a bit more about your venture ‘Road Not Taken’.

As the name suggests, Road Not Taken, is unconventional and exploratory by nature, which is also the fundamental property of Research. With RNT, we want to take Research into unchartered areas where we can apply Research principles to build meaningful and creative solutions.

My co-founder, Simran Kaur, is my co-traveller on this road!

We are a small core team and we deploy consultants who come with domain expertise. Given that the nature of our business at Road Not Taken is extremely diverse, this ecosystemic talent pool is crucial to our business model. Over the years, we have identified and built a wide network with specialized knowledge and skill that enables us to connect dots from extremely diverse backgrounds. This has empowered us uniquely to apply both width and depth of knowledge in our work and expand our horizons liberally.

What is the best moment in your professional journey so far?

Since creating solutions is a very integral part of what we do at RNT, our aha moments come from those innumerable occasions when a research insight suddenly transforms into a path breaking solution idea!

Can you please share the most challenging times in your professional journey so far?

Our biggest challenge has also been our biggest opportunity. Since we live in a dynamic world, agility is becoming increasingly crucial in our business. By deploying the best in business, we have the advantage of both quality and agility in our solutions. But yes, till we cracked this model, we have faced challenges in the past, to address this need.

As a business leader, what motivates you the most to keep going on a daily basis?

Expanding myself using my business ecosystem and allowing myself to be used so that my ecosystem can expand. It’s a win-win and that’s the only way I know things work!

What is your success mantra? Please share your keys to success.

My success mantra is Happiness. Focusing on a state of unbroken internal happiness allows me to transform any mundane or interesting activity into a continuous stream of joy. There are techniques of mastering this. That’s why we are launching a series of Happiness workshops to share these secrets with the rest of the world.

What suggestions you have for new entrepreneurs about handling pressure and stress?

Meditation is compulsory for a sound mind. While it is crucial for everyone, regardless of profession or lifestage, in the business environment, meditation is particularly useful for sound decision making and to de-link oneself from result obsession. We have extremely profound tenets of Karma Yoga that can transform our overall orientation to conducting business. Resorting to age-old practices that have stood the test of time is my suggestion to one and all including myself.

If there is one thing that you need to change in your professional journey so far, what would it be?

I have arrived at a place that affords me maximum potential to blossom personally and professionally. This is by grace and not by design. I was neither in a hurry to succeed, nor too ambitious; it’s the same now, so I’d change nothing in the journey. However, I wish I had known this years ago, that I must try to align my professional goals with the personal ones, not vice versa. Only when there is perfect match in personal and the professional goals that there can be true value. The younger generation is thankfully well aware of it and I am happy my younger colleagues at Road Not Taken are fairly sorted on this.

Last but not the least, what is your message for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Giving messages sounds a little high-horsed, I would welcome messages from aspiring entrepreneurs too. What I would say, though, is: do not wait to learn things, or earn enough to run things, get to work right away. Because knowledge is not an investment to be encashed, that cheque usually bounces. Nor is money an investment, it usually drains. One learns out of necessity of the day, so it’s best to create an intense necessity, and all resources will rush in order to help you survive and live the day, that’s the time to create the investment, as a response to life. Daily.

*All views are that of the interviewee.

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