Innovation tailored to the demands and incomes of consumers in India is the new big trend in business. Global companies are now bending over backwards to innovate for India – there’s even a new term for it, “Indovation” – and the key theme is to skin prices down till they fit into the Indian hip pocket, while creating a product, often from scratch, that fits Indian needs like a glove.
Reporting from New Delhi for The Financial Times, James Lamont commented on the efforts of designers to produce products which appeal to India’s vast and often poor domestic market.
Areas where Indovations are springing up include solar power, mobile telephony, medical equipment and toilet technology. Indian engineers have also invented a battery-powered ultra-low cost fridge resistant to power cuts, an automatic teller cash machine for rural areas and even a flour mill powered by scooter.
Lamont explained, “In a country where the bulk of the population lives in the countryside and where an estimated 300m people live on a $1 a day, a common factor is a low spend and price sensitivity.”
The title of C.K. Prahalad’s book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” has entered the lexicon of modern India as a business mantra. One of the book’s case studies examines Unilever’s successful pricing and packaging of fast-moving consumer goods in small, affordable units.