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Inspiration, Innovation And India: India The Innovator Nation

Sushil Bhatia

India has declared 2011-2020 as the decade of Innovation. Why it has taken the India so long to start this and take this step is unusual considering its past history over centuries.

Look at some facts:
1.    India established first university in the world in 700BC
2.    Ayurveda –the earliest medicine was established over 2500 years ago.
3.    Number system and digit “zero” was invented in India –otherwise there will be no IT industry
4.    Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus studies originated in India in the 11th century
5.    Value of “pi” was calculated in India in 6th century
6.    Decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.
7.    The Baily Bridge (Ladhak)  the highest bridge in the  world was built by India in 1982
8.    First with management philosophies as narrated by in Geeta by Krishna – considered by many to be the first management “Guru”.
9.    Benefits of Meditation were recognized a long time ago.
10.    Yoga- all historical epics going back centuries mention practice of yoga for mental, emotional and intellectual wellbeing.
11.    Art of Laughter and its healthy results have made Indians have a good sense of humor and high level of tolerance in life.

And now Disappointment in India is creating new innovation :

Frugal Innovation (products for the people at the Bottom of the Pyramid) Frugal Innovation or “constrained based” innovation is the innovaiton designed to be inexpensive, robust and easy to use. It also means being sparse in the use of raw materials and their impact on the environment.

These people at the bottom of the pyramid which are being addresses by multinational have been innovators on their own for centuries just to survive (Survival Innovation). They have been in developing, innovating and manufacturing products with minimal resources at their disposal for their day to day survival. These efforts have resulted in "jugaad” Innovation and now Reverse innovation.

The main reasons behind are:
1.    Historically, MNC developed new products in the developed countries and eventually sold them in developing countries.
2.    In wealthy countries performance mattered most. Followed by features. In India price mattered most, followed by portability and ease of use because a large population earns less than $2 per day.
3.    Forced by circumstances of frugal living, lack of funding has resulted in resourcefulness leading individuals and corporations to create innovative products to serve this market –first domestically and then globally. Some example s of this Frugal innovation are
4.    Tata Motors has produced a $2,200 car
5.    Godrej and Boyce has developed a $70 fridge that runs on batteris and is known as “the little cool”
6.    Arvind Eye Hospitals in Madurai India have reduced eye surgery costs by over 80% by standardization principles as used by Mcdonalds
7.    Narayana Hrudayalaya ,Bangalore have made open heart surgery very reliable and affordable at the 10% of the cost of the western countries
8.    Tata’s introduced the world’s cheapest water filter using paddy ash husk as a filter. It can provide enough filtered water to last a family of 5 for one year.
9.    GE India Steam Turbines- developed in India in 2010 now being exported to West Asia, Indonesia, Europe and Latin America
10.    MittiCool: A refrigerator developed by an entrepreneur in Gujarat which is made from Clay and uses no electricity.
11.    Coca-Cola, Levis’, Xerox, Nestle, P&G, Nokia and Microsoft keep on developing frugal innovative products using sparse resources in countries like India, china, Mexico, Kenya which would result in product for local population and eventually for global markets. (Reverse innovation).

Companies and countries are finding out the price of non-innovation is very high and it’s a must to innovate constantly  keeping the mantra in mind “Innovate or Suffocate”

Till Next time

THINK NEUTRAL: Laugh a lot.

1.    The Holy Geeta: Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda, Timeless
2.    Reverse Innovation: Govindrajan, ISBN: 978-1-4221-5764-0,2012
3.    Jugaad Innovation: Navi Radjou et.al;ISBN: 978-1-118-24974-1,
4.    I have a dream- Rashmi Bansal: ISBN: 978-93-80658-38-4, 2011
5.    Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Prahalad, ISBN978-0-13-700927-5, 2010
6.    Creating a world without Poverty: Muhammad Yunus, ISBN: 978-1-58648-493-4, 2007
7.    Think India: Vinay Rai : ISBN 978-0-525-95020-2, 2007

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