Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For applying computer vision technology to solve customer problems

Cutting-edge tech is grand, but it has to be harnessed for a purpose. "It is not enough to just take up the requirements," says Janani Raju. "You have to truly understand the pain points of the customer."

Take deep learning. Before neural networks can make critical decisions in real-time environments, they must be fed thousands of data points—a time-intensive but necessary task. So when Raju joined the Bengaluru office of Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions in 2014, she and her team set out to develop a tool that would dramatically speed things up. The two-year project sliced the processing time to label one image from 2 hours to 14 minutes. 

That project—which Raju likens to a crash course in design thinking, agile and strategic leadership—also helped position her for larger undertakings. These days, she manages an 18-person team responsible for the delivery of computer vision technology projects for internal clients, as well as for an array of global customers that include agricultural companies, medical institutions and even retail stores. 

“Our technology can help farmers estimate their crop totals two months out, pathologists identify microscopic viruses in blood samples and business owners know which sections of their stores customers tend to dwell in so that they can create optimal flow,” says Raju. 

Raju has filed for six patents—so far. “I’m persistent about bettering myself,” she says, “for whatever tomorrow brings.”

Q&A: Janani Raju on how young people are adding value to projects and why she’s a fan of to-do lists

How are young people changing the world of projects?

I’m overwhelmed by the contributions and technical aptitude that student interns bring in these days. Social media, online learning platforms and easy-to-access technology have equipped young people to add more value to projects, even as fresh graduates. 

What’s the first thing you check every morning?

I start and end my day with my to-do list. This helps me switch between different roles—project manager, mother, sister, friend, wife—without missing out on important responsibilities.

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We asked the Future 50: What are you reading—and recommending—right now?

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy was recommended by my manager, and it really changed my perspective on managing time and prioritizing activities. It’s a gamechanger. —Janani Raju

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Advice to My (Even) Younger Self

We asked the Future 50: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

It’s okay to fail. Your destiny isn’t only success or failure. Rather, there are lessons to learn from both. —Janani Raju