Innovation Requirements in India


Interesting report on ZDNet on the Indus Entrepreneurs meeting recently held in Delhi. Key points of note are:

  • The India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved the establishment of a National Innovation Council to prepare a 10-year roadmap
  • India does not need low-cost but ultra-low cost products,  The products need to be extremely affordability and that can only happen through disruptive innovation
  • Much of the innovation in India is emerging out of scarcity and aspirations

As an example of the sort of innovation coming out of India, a student in Kerala, Remia Jose, had a lot of household chores to do when her mother fell ill. She would return from school and wash clothes because her family could not afford a washing machine.

To cope, then 15-year-old Remia created a washing machine that ran on pedals and did not require electricity to operate. The machine cost just US$45 (INR 2,000).

Mansukhbhai Prajapati also invented an earthen refrigerator, called Mittikool, which is priced at US$77 (INR 3,500). The refrigerator has separate compartments for storing water and vegetables and also runs without electricity, making it ideal for rural areas.

Prajapati operates a small-scale industrial unit in Rajkot, which has been producing clay products since 1988. Besides the refrigerator, Prajapati’s company also manufactures non-stick pans made from clay, as well as Mittikool water filters, cookers and dinner sets.

There is no doubt that this sort of innovation is a powerhouse of opportunity as yet not fully realised in potential.

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