Q&A Why isn’t there any kind of business innovation in India?

Here is a question from an online forum

I mean all the successful startups in the past in this country have portrayed the western models of entrepreneurship and innovation, why so?

Response from our editor, Mohan

Thanks for asking, but I think the assumption of the question is a bit flawed, especially since most people can’t define “business innovation”

Assumption 1: Only startups engage in business innovation

  • Not all innovation happens in startups. A lot of existing businesses including small-business innovate to address challenges and concerns unique to this market

Take for example packaging of shampoo and coffee in sachets in India, which is extremely popular. As per some accounts 90-95% of shampoo sales in India are through single use sachets. Quick turnover means lower costs!

Assumption 2: “successful startups in have portrayed the western models”

Again, this assumption is flawed since eCommerce in India, while leveraging technology developed in the west is innovating in unique conditions here

  • Users with low bandwidth internet
  • Users not very educated and expecting COD/Cash based services
  • Unique logistics and supply chain challenges
  • Operating at extremely low volumes

Assumption 3: “Business innovation” must be glamorous and visible.

  • The fact is that much of business innovation happens behind the scenes. Not all “business innovation” is end-user driven or visible
  • Behind the scenes innovation might lead to lower cost and operational
  • Not all business-innovation is “celebrated” in business journals or magazines

Assumption 4: “Business innovation” involves hi-tech

  • Business-innovation can be non-technical, purely process driven
  • Business innovation in rural areas can be low-tech (and low cost)

Bottomline: We are likely to see a lot more ‘business innovation’ addressing unique local requirements. These innovations are happening at unexpected places at unexpected times.

A few links of interest:

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