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Blog Entries

Finding Your Place in the Competitive Jungle

It's a jungle out there. While this simple phrase has been used time and time again to discuss the many obstacles people and companies face, an animal metaphor does describe required innovation actions rather effectively. Imagine a 2x2 matrix with size on the y-axis and speed on the x-axis. Size can be represented as market share, revenue, or units sold, depending on the context. Speed is the speed of innovation...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 04/18/2013 at 11:53 am

To Innovate, Find What’s Hiding in Plain Sight

In our last post, we asked the question, "What's the connection between counting squares and innovation?" It turns out, the answer isn't so simple. Read entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 04/03/2013 at 08:24 am

What’s the Connection Between Counting Squares and Innovation?

Take a look at the following figure, and then consider the questions below. How many squares are there in this picture? How did you arrive at this number? What connection (if any) do you see between this exercise and breakthrough innovation? Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 04/01/2013 at 08:20 am

When Organizational Memory Stands in the Way

Your company's organizational memory might be holding it back. Consider the following parable: Two monks — one old and one young — were walking to a village far from their monastery. Along the way they saw a beautiful, young woman waiting at the edge of a stream, too afraid to cross. The young monk reminded himself of his vow not to touch women and continued walking. But to his amazement, the elder...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 03/11/2013 at 12:26 pm

When Your Incentive System Backfires

How many times have you seen an incentive system produce the exact opposite of the desired behavior? Why is that? And why can't organizations see, let alone fix, the problem? For example, I (Srikanth) went to visit a client in an Asian city. I stayed in a hotel in the middle of the city, and had to meet the client at his factory location that was quite far away. The client suggested that I catch the bus and gave...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 02/22/2013 at 11:02 am

Our Political Leaders Need a Fiscal Flight Plan

The U.S government is days away from the so-called Fiscal Cliff, the stakes are huge. Last week at HBR's 90th Anniversary event, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz remarked three possible ways the crisis could play out: First, Congress will take no actions by Dec 31, which will be disastrous to the US and to the world. Second (and most likely), they come up with Band-Aid solutions, and the problem will no doubt resurface....
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 12/05/2012 at 11:36 am

Cigarettes Should Cost $25 a Pack

Henry David Thoreau said, "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." We have hacked at healthcare costs for what seems like thousands of times, with very limited success. It is time to strike at the root. Rather than focus on reducing costs after preventable diseases have taken hold, it is time to focus attention on eliminating the disease. Read entire post at Harvard...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 11/21/2012 at 10:33 am

America’s Fiscal Cliff Can Be a Catalyst for Growth

As America turns its attention to the "fiscal cliff," the proposals on the table look at solutions that will either shrink the economy (e.g. cutting expenses and raising taxes) or make it stagnant (e.g. reduce tax rates but recover the revenue from fixing deduction loopholes). Are there ways to expand the pie, instead? Here's one idea: turn the trade deficit into a trade surplus. Read the entire post at Harvard...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 11/09/2012 at 11:55 am

Quality Health Care at 3% of the Cost

Every so often, good ideas to lower health care costs in the US will come from unlikely sources. Consider organ transplants. Approximately 30% of the world's 100,000 transplants performed annually are done in the US. Nine out of 10 of these involve kidney, liver, or pancreas. Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 11/02/2012 at 09:48 am

The Timeless Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals

Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad's 1989 HBR article "Strategic Intent" brought about a discontinuous shift in my career — from a professor of accounting to a researcher on strategy and innovation. As an idea, strategic intent is about setting a bold and ambitious goal, out of all proportion to a firm's current resources and capabilities. Strategic intent takes the long view: the act of such intent is to...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/22/2012 at 08:37 am

Watch Out For India’s Consumer Market Pitfalls

Procter & Gamble's India sales grew by over 21 percent in the second quarter of this year. India's largest consumer products company, a unit of Anglo-Dutch Unilever, PLC, reported that its sales were up 9 percent. Michigan's Amway registered an annual growth rate of 19 percent in India last year. Enamored by these numbers — and encouraged by a new wave of reforms to retail, airlines, broadcast,...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 10/19/2012 at 07:15 am

Open India: Considerations for Retailers

India has rapidly emerged as one of the largest economies in the world, but it is also one of the most complex. Now, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's insistence that "good economics is good politics," India has announced a new wave of reforms, seen by many as the most significant step since the ground-breaking "opening of India" in July 1991. Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/26/2012 at 11:18 am

Match Your Innovation Process to the Results You Want

We are often asked whether the best way to structure for innovation is top-down or bottom-up. The answer is both, but it depends. Bottom-up approaches work well for incremental (keeps you in the game) innovations. Breakthrough (changes the game) innovations, contrary to popular belief, need a top-down approach. Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/10/2012 at 10:21 am

Interview with Vijay Govindarajan: Reverse Innovation (Book)

Sameer Kamat, founder of MBA Crystal Ball, caught up with Vijay Govindarajan (VG) to find out more about his book on reverse innovation. So, what exactly is Reverse Innovation? VG explained the idea to us in simple terms “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...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 09/05/2012 at 10:18 am

How Big Companies Beat Local Competition in Emerging Markets

You might think that emerging country companies are more ready to address the needs of and win customers in other emerging markets. Indeed, India's Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. is expanding rapidly via acquisitions of Issue Group and Cosmetica Nacional in Latin America, while China's Huawei has a large direct presence in India's telecom market. But we believe that multinationals from rich countries who are...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/28/2012 at 09:54 am

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discusses "reverse innovation" with me in New Delhi.  I was struck not only by the PM's sincerity but also by his deep understanding of  fundamental problems such as affordable health and renewable energy. It is my hope that the India and its business community will use reverse innovation as a means to build out their global capabilities, even as foreign companies learn...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/22/2012 at 11:24 am

Get to Know Your Non-Customer

The U.S. economy is sluggish, Europe is in a crisis, and emerging markets have slower rates of growth than in the past. In a slow-growth world, the new growth norm has to be about satisfying the needs of non-customers. But which non-customers do you target? And how do you get to know them? Read the entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/10/2012 at 10:14 am

Eradicating Global Poverty and Disease Begins at Home

Those of us fortunate enough to have spent most of our lives under a solidly built roof sometimes take for granted the health benefits of modern housing. We assume that our rooms will be well-ventilated and well-lit, with solid walls and windows that keep out disease-carrying insects. Indoor plumbing erases the need for proper sanitation from our list of everyday worries. And as for clean drinking water, we have an...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/02/2012 at 11:10 am

getAbstract’s 12th Annual International Book Award

We are humbled to know that Reverse Innovation has been nominated for the getAbstract International Book Award for 2012! 2 of the 5 shortlisted titles will receive the award, which is presented at a large afternoon event on the first day of The Frankfurt Book Fair (October 10). In announcing the shortlist, getAbstract says: "Good authors recognize problems and break them down to their basic elements. Moreover, the very...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 08/01/2012 at 09:54 am

Yes, You Can Brainstorm Without Groupthink

In articles in both the New York Times and The New Yorker earlier this year, the concept of brainstorming as introduced in the 1940's by Alex Osborn has been attacked as ineffective and linked to the concept of "Groupthink." In her NYT piece and in an HBR ideacast, Susan Cain points out that the popular view — "Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in." — conflicts with research that suggests "people...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 07/27/2012 at 06:24 am

Big ideas for India 2050. PM, create a National Water Grid

India’s growth has slowed. Inflation is back, foreign direct investment has plummeted, and its currency is sinking. After two decades of impressive growth, optimism appears to have ebbed. In the minds of many, India’s shine has dimmed. But today’s woes are a mere bump. Read entire post at Bharatkalyan97>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 07/23/2012 at 08:01 am

Why That New Innovation Effort May Not Be Worth It

Nowadays, almost every company claims to be innovative, if only to attract top talent, please investors, and strengthen its brand. Some companies are innovative, but many are not. If you are going to lead or be a part of a new initiative, how can you tell if your organization is really committed to supporting that effort? Is the innovation effort only inducing fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the market, or is the...
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 06/25/2012 at 11:20 am

Insights from #33voices interview with Vijay Govindarajan

Moe Abdou interviews Vijay Govindarajan about his book "Reverse Innovation" Watch the interview on YouTube>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 06/12/2012 at 12:37 pm

Run a Disciplined Innovation Experiment

Vijay Govindarajan, Tuck professor and author of Reverse Innovation, outlines key steps for rapid learning. See video at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 06/07/2012 at 12:42 pm

Who in Your Company Can Say “Yes” to Innovation, Without Permission?

The truth about big innovation is that you get what you play for. If that looks like a typo — if it's jarring to see "innovation" and "play" in the same sentence or to hear anyone suggest that you, a manager, should play at anything — then this blog post is for you. Read entire post at Harvard Business Review>>
Posted by: Vijay Govindarajan - 05/29/2012 at 07:57 am

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