Indovation — recipe for success in Indian market

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Business Matter

Manish Shah is the former president of Midwest Law Printing in Chicago. He also worked at Intel, PwC and Motorola. He has an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and a MS in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology. He can be reached at manishshahus@yahoo.com.

By Manish Shah

The term “indovation” was coined by Navi Radjou of Cambridge University. It stands for affordable innovations created in India that serve the needs of a large population.

Radjou has identified the four principles of Indovation that are widely used by Indian entrepreneurs and foreign companies. First is frugality — they should be thrifty in the way they use resources. Second is inclusiveness — they want every Indian to become a potential customer. Third is the collaboration — they have to partner with local NGOs and communities if they want to help bring the Innovation to the masses. Fourth is flexibility and adaptability — they have to be adaptive in terms of their business model and processes.

An example of Indovation is PepsiCo’s new drug that will treat anemia and iron deficiency in India. This medication will cost approximately 44 cents. PepsiCo began at that price point and then worked backwards to develop the medication.  GE’s Vscan, a portable ultrasound device, is another example of Indovation. It was designed for rural India, where people have limited or no access to sophisticated medical devices. P&G launched Gillete Guard, an affordable alternative for millions of Indians who use double-edged razors. The product retails for 15 rupees, which is about 33 cents, with refill cartridges retailing for five rupees or about 10 cents.

The companies that want to innovate in India need to immerse in the local culture and innovate from ground up. When P&G designed the Gillette Guard, they made it easy to rinse given the scarcity of running water in India. P&G also modified the grip to accommodate the unique way in which the Indian consumers hold the razors. Making minor tweaks to the product and selling is cheaply is no longer sufficient to succeed in the Indian market.

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