Hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney

Leading L&D Innovation using Evidence-Based Practice

Hariraj Vijaykumar

This is our podcast with Hariraj Vijaykumar, former chief learning officer at Cognizant, and now, CEO of Designs in Change. Our conversation with Hariraj gives us a better understanding of the connection between the business and the people that make up an enterprise. His ideas on innovation, particularly for HR, are enlightening.


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About Our Episode on L&D

  1. You moved from a role in business to becoming the CLO of Cognizant technologies and now an entrepreneur helping companies to transform. How have these experiences shaped your views on business and what makes an enterprise thrive?

  2. As a former business leader, what was missing in HR or L&D? Many call for abolishing the HR function. Can HR or the people function deliver a higher level of impact?

  3. What skills and expertise do you believe will be required of those in the HR/L&D and people function to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution?

  4. You are a big supporter of evidence-based practice, particularly in the field of learning and development. Could you share with us what led you to value evidence-based practice?

  5. How have you benefited and also how have the organizations you have worked in benefited from evidence-based practices?

  6. You’ve talked abut the importance of rigor and depth in HR and L&D; when you were the Chief Learning Officer at cognizant technologies how did you build rigor and depth in your teams?

  7. Why are organizations reluctant to adopt evidence-based practices in HR?

  8. During your time as CLO, you were successful in inspiring your team to pitch and pursue several dozen innovation projects, ranging from incremental to the extraordinary such as incorporating biofeedback to accelerate learning. How did you do it?

  9. What role can the people function play in helping businesses innovate?

  10. What is your advice to CHROs and CLOs on preparing their teams to become better human capital partners to the business and employees?

Hariraj Vijayakumar is a business leader turned chief learning officer and now, an entrepreneur. I first met Hariraj when he was a learning leader at Cognizant. Hari saw the value of using analytics to improve learning outcomes much before it was popular. With a deep interest in science, Hari has been a proponent of evidence-based practice and an influential advisor in the design of our evidence-based talent management curriculum. During his time as the chief learning officer at Cognizant, he reskilled his team in evidence-based talent development and leveraged it to drive innovation. His passion for innovation, evidence-based practice, and the ability to influence his staunches critics make him exceptionally good at what he does. In our conversation, we explore all of these areas and more.

Meet the Speaker From Our Podcast on L&D

Hariraj Vijaykumar

Hariraj Vijaykumar

Founder and CEO of Designs in Change


Hariraj Vijayakumar is the founder and CEO of Designs in Change, a firm that enables enterprise transformation. Prior to starting his firm, Hari was the Chief Learning Officer at Cognizant, where he championed the development of Cognizant’s 250,000 global workforce.  Under his leadership, Cognizant ranked #1 among learning organizations for two years consecutively (2013 and 2014).  Hariraj has an undergraduate degree in engineering and executive education from the Goizueta School of Management at Emory University.

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