February Musings

Lumière is a virtual organization that we founded 10 years ago, primarily as a work opportunity
for women professionals who weren’t strictly willing or able to work in a conventional
workplace. Does this sound like a social cause? We believe it’s a business cause and a human
cause. There are lots of bright professionals out there who might want to get into a work
environment that respects them for their ability to work full- flexi. Lumiere is a way of doing
business, and for us a way of life/ work. It’s not part-time, and it’s not a compromise.
Over time we’ve become an eclectic multi-disciplinary team, and some smart work practices
and good sense in selecting, training, empowering and rewarding them, thereby working with
them to becoming good and some even exemplary qualitative market researchers.
The discipline of qualitative research is as much an art as it is a science. We build on people,
and help them hone their skills in communicating, developing ways of seeing, connecting,
inferring and making meaning, using their own unique perceptions, with the objective of
bringing insight to business problems. Yet another abiding philosophy we live by, is that
everything we do today ought to be a leg up on what we did yesterday. We drive ourselves hard
– really hard.
At Lumière, we’ve discovered that everyone loves stretch, independence, being nice, and
feeling respected and valued. We believe in treating our clients, our field partners, our
respondents and in fact each other – with respect, concern, and empathy. And we love doing
research and solving business problems. We are all in our projects together, as one extended
team, trying to do our best for the project. A virtual business model is not sustainable without
a tremendous sense of personal leadership and ownership of the client, and business problem.
Over the years, the team size of qualitative researchers and analysts as well as of industry and
domain experts has grown. We are now looking to expand and offer the opportunity to a larger
audience. The Lumière Way, with its deep underlying belief in the limitless potential of the
individual provides a unique way of balancing work and life. It builds on individual strengths,
inputs very highly into team members and helps them grow personally and professionally.
In 2004, the Lumière model was studied by a leading multinational as a case study for
exemplary team work practices. They studied our team processes, observed us as we worked
and played. This curiosity and appreciation by some shared and external appreciation gave us
further confidence that we were doing a lot of things right.
In February 2007, came an unusual request from the head of a large Indian retail giant which
read, ‘we are inspired by Lumière and would like for our HR team to study your organization’.
They sent across their HR team to study how they might attract and engage with women
professionals seeking flexi, project-based work.
As modern urban life gets more stressful and demanding, personal economic independence
grows, more work place opportunities open up, more people would want to become ‘consulting
partners’ to an organization. At Lumière our employee turnover is lower than 5% and our doors
never close for exiting employees, who are encouraged to go out there, but come back
whenever they feel the need for greater need for flexibility increases.
The challenge for us as we grow is to attract women professionals who will make Lumière a
career option of choice. It’s an invite to explore this playground of infinite possibilities, even
as you take time off to smell the roses.

Deepa Soman

Posted by Deepa Soman

Spiritual seeker, people and idea collector and connector, life-long learner and sharer. Founder CEO Lumiere Business Solutions, a marketing research & consulting firm. She designed a business model innovation to enable women professionals to get back to work.

Website: http://www.lumieresolutions.com

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