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Blog Entries

What Engineering a Reverse Innovation Looks Like

When a company investigates a new product opportunity, it is important to define the problem, and the requirements that will dictate a viable solution, independently from the company’s existing lines of similar products or preconceived ideas of what a solution should entail. This is especially true when businesses are considering entering emerging markets or aim to realize opportunities to create...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 11/04/2015 at 10:32 am

Understanding the Rise of Manufacturing in India

When many executives think about manufacturing, China is the first country that comes to mind. But there are other players grabbing a bit of that spotlight — like India. Despite the conventional wisdom that says India’s place in the global economy revolves around digital bits and services rather than material atoms, the country is starting to attract more attention for its manufacturing potential for a number...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/18/2015 at 06:18 am

Business Can Help End Child Labor

I have always been fascinated by the question: How can for-profit corporations innovate to solve the world’s toughest challenges? My passion for this topic was formed at a very early age. Growing up in India, I realized that the country has too few resources to confront its many challenges; the only way India can hope to solve its problems is through innovation. I therefore committed my professional career to...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 04/10/2015 at 11:36 am

Which U.S. Companies Are Doing the Most R&D in China and India?

Over 200 publicly listed American companies have R&D budgets that exceed $100 million annually. Which companies allocate the highest proportion of that budget to engineering in China and India, specifically? And what drives their success with these global engineering initiatives? Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 03/31/2015 at 01:10 pm

3 Ways Businesses Are Addressing Inequality in Emerging Markets

Last year, the World Bank added a new mission to its original goal of reducing poverty: boosting shared prosperity. The change reflects the state of today’s world: the fraction of the global population in extreme poverty, defined as those earning less than $1.25 per day, has dropped to 12% from 36% in 1990. Yet income inequality is more pronounced than ever. According to a report released by Oxfam International on...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 01/30/2015 at 05:31 am

How the U.S. and India Can Strengthen Their Business Ties

Barack Obama is the first American President to visit India twice while still in office. When he leaves New Delhi on January 26, the bilateral benefits of the time invested might flow for a decade or longer—but it will depend on how well both sides manage some of the barriers that have kept the two giant countries from working together well in the past. As executives with deep experience in both countries, we see...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 01/22/2015 at 05:14 am

How U.S. Businesses Can Succeed in India in 2015

On January 26, 2015, President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to visit India twice. Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington last September, the U.S.-India Business Council found that its large company members were prepared to invest $40 billion into India by 2017. This at a time when Brazil’s economy is stuttering, Vladimir Putin’s expansionism has made...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 01/06/2015 at 07:58 am

3 Myths about Engineering Talent in China and India

Conventional wisdom holds that the typical engineer or scientist in India or China might work for an outsourced service provider doing low-end computer programming in return for meager wages. Similarly, it’s thought that the main reason Western companies hire offshore engineers is to supply markets in China and India with stripped-down versions of American products at rock-bottom prices. Read the entire post at...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 12/09/2014 at 05:25 am

What the Mission to Mars Shows About India’s Innovators

The success of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in placing the Mangalyaan satellite into orbit around Mars last week has three important lessons for companies about winning in emerging markets: big ambitions are critical, constraints can be liberating, and India can be an R&D powerhouse. Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/01/2014 at 12:39 pm

Strategy’s No Good Unless You End Up Somewhere New

Innovation isn’t always strategic, but strategy making sure as heck better be innovative. By definition, strategy is about allocating resources today to secure a better tomorrow. It is important, however, to understand the nuances and complexities of innovation as they relate to strategy. Take a look at my list of the four most important. Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 05/21/2014 at 01:00 pm

Health Care Reforms That Work

Diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, and stroke are on the rise in both the developed and the developing world, and they have a few things in common. First, they are responsible for contributing a large chunk of patients into the health care system, especially in developed countries like the US. In fact such diseases are the cause of death in more than 4 out of 5 cases in the US....
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 03/08/2014 at 06:26 am

Transforming Rural India Through Agricultural Innovation

With a majority of its population living in villages, rural poverty is a major problem in India. The disparity between the urban and rural incomes is also on the rise. This leads to migration to urban areas resulting in urban blight as well. Therefore addressing the problem of rural poverty assumes urgency. On my last trip to India, I witnessed an innovation experiment, National Agro Foundation (NAF), that addresses...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 02/21/2014 at 12:08 pm

Whatever Happened to the $300 House?

The idea to design and build a $300 house first appeared here on the HBR site in August 2010, in a post by me (Vijay Govindarajan) and Christian Sarkar, and then again as one of several ideas in the HBR Agenda 2011. Believing that improving housing for the world’s most poor could help them break out of the vicious cycle of poverty, we issued a challenge to the design community to employ the strategies of...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 01/27/2014 at 09:34 am

Get a Better Return on Your Business Intelligence

There is a lot of hype and buzz around business intelligence. Companies are investing millions of dollars in business intelligence technology. However, unless this is accompanied by the simultaneous creation of a strong foundation for taking intelligent business actions, they are unlikely to reap a good return on that investment. An analogy might help explain what we mean by this... Read the entire post at Harvard...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 01/03/2014 at 07:57 am

Reverse Innovation Starts with Education

Historically, multinationals innovated in rich countries and sold those products in poor countries. Reverse innovation is doing exactly the opposite. It is about innovating in poor countries and selling those products in rich countries. Since two-thirds of world’s growth in GDP is likely come from poor countries, reverse innovation is an important phenomenon. Reverse innovation is also a significant learning...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 11/18/2013 at 09:08 am

Why Can’t U.S. Health Care Costs Be Cut in Half?

Technological improvements in health care have given us the quality of life we enjoy today. But chronic conditions, end-of-life care, and an aging society will bankrupt the United States if it doesn’t make dramatic changes to its health care system. America — and many other countries — need an audacious goal to get off the unsustainable path. What if the United States set itself the goal of cutting...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/29/2013 at 11:23 am

Five Power Skills for Discovering Radical Ideas

Innovation starts with new and novel ideas. Over the last 20 years, we have worked with many world-class brands to help find their next “big thing.” During the initial phases of our work together, it becomes obvious that they have plenty of good ideas. Finding ideas is never the problem — initially. The challenge is finding radical ideas consistently year after year. Read the entire post at Harvard...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/22/2013 at 09:03 am

India’s Secret to Low-Cost Health Care

A renowned Indian heart surgeon is currently building a 2,000-bed, internationally accredited “health city” in the Cayman Islands, a short flight from the U.S. Its services will include tertiary care procedures, such as open-heart surgery, angioplasty, knee or hip replacement, and neurosurgery for about 40% of U.S. prices. Patients will have the option of recuperating for a week or two in the Caymans before...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/15/2013 at 07:30 am

Capturing the Innovation Mindset at Bally Technologies

Bally Technologies, a leading provider of gaming systems for casinos, has earned more than 60 awards for innovation in just the last four years. It increased R&D spending from 7-8% of revenue before 2009 to 11-12% of revenue starting in 2010, and maximized the return on that increased investment. The result: Its return on assets tripled, from an industry-lagging position below 4% to an industry-leading position...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/04/2013 at 09:29 am

Innovation Isn’t Just About New Products

The innovation mindset isn’t just about product innovation. Some organizations have focused on product innovation for so long they don’t know how to innovate in any other areas. For example, in 2010, Microsoft —one of the world’s best product innovators for the last two decades — launched a social phone called Kin. The product was a complete disaster. Within six weeks of the launch, the...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/26/2013 at 08:48 am

Recognize Intrapreneurs Before They Leave

Any CEO can tell you that finding ideas is not the always the problem. The real issue is selecting and spreading the best ideas, testing quickly, and executing flawlessly. An “innovation engine” is an organization’s capability to think and invest in long-term opportunities along with the competence to drive continuous innovations for top-line growth each year. To build your innovation engine, your...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/20/2013 at 12:35 pm

The Right Innovation Mindset Can Take You from Idea to Impact

Thomas Edison said it over a century ago: “Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” Unfortunately, when companies launch innovation initiatives, they tend to devote most of their time, energy and attention to that initial 1% – the thrilling hunt for the breakthrough idea. The real innovation challenge, however, lies beyond the idea, in a long, hard journey from idea to impact....
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/19/2013 at 09:06 am

Should Higher Education Be Free?

In the United States, our higher education system is broken. Since 1980, we've seen a 400% increase in the cost of higher education, after adjustment for inflation — a higher cost escalation than any other industry, even health care. We have recently passed the trillion dollar mark in student loan debt in the United States. How long can a business model succeed that forces students to accumulate $200,000 or...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/05/2013 at 01:13 pm

Emerging-Market Engineers Power Global Innovation

Recently, Thomson-Reuters published its latest list of the Top 100 Global Innovators honoring the leading organizations and companies most responsible for sizeable, influential patents worldwide. A quick scan of the list indicates that all 100 organizations are located in developed countries. The United States has 47 entries, Japan 25, Western Europe 21, and South Korea 7. From this list, some readers may infer that...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/09/2013 at 08:03 am

The Innovation Mindset in Action: 3M Corporation

In three recent blog posts we looked at the innovation mindset in individuals, profiling game changers Jerry Buss, Peter Jackson, and Shantha Ragunathan. These three innovators share common qualities, which we call the innovation mindset, a robust framework which can be applied at the micro (individual) as well as macro (organizational) levels: they see and act on opportunities, use "and" thinking to resolve tough...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/06/2013 at 09:31 am

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