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What the World Can Learn from Indian Innovations

Navi Radjou, Geetu Verma, and Simone Ahuja speak on INDOvations at Asia Society India Centre on November 18, 2010. (Asia Society India Centre)
by admin
22 November 2010

November 18, 2010 - The unique nature of innovations in India inspired Navi Radjou, Executive Director of the
Centre for India and Global Business at the University of Cambridge's Judge
Business School, to coin the term INDOvations
to describe it.

presenting on INDOvations at Asia Society centers in New York, San Francisco,
and Hong Kong, Radjou led a panel discussion at Asia Society India Centre,
titled INDOvations: Driving Global
Innovations from Emerging Markets.
Radjou was joined by Simone Ahuja,
Founder and Principal of Blood Orange Media, and Geetu Verma, who heads Pepsico India's Beverage and Snacks
Innovation portfolio.

Radjou summed
up the INDOvation formula as more with less for more, i.e. delivering more of
the product with fewer resources for more quality. This can be contrasted with
other models, such as that of the West, which does not deal as much with scarce
resources, and the Chinese model, that focuses primarily on cutting costs.
INDOvations start by drawing inspiration from customer needs in emerging market
contexts, and then commercialize products.

in India are also adjusting their models in this way, Radjou explained. For
instance, Nokia has developed mobile payment systems for people to handle
payments without a bank account. Such Indian models are also exportable. For
instance, General Electric engages in "reverse innovations," making cheap and
light machines for the Indian market, and then selling these products in other

The panelists
recounted their own experiences with discovering and adapting to INDOvations.
Verma observed how the principles behind many of India's rural, small-scale
entrepreneurs were the same as those pursued by MNC's, such as ensuring
accessibility and empowering local communities. Ahuja elaborated on how one's
environment can influence the type of innovations made, as mindsets adapt to
resources and needs around them. Their discussions highlighted how Indian
innovations can provide a winning formula for business while providing value to
masses in developed and developing countries alike.