Current Research


Tel: 603-289-0007

VG personally handles all inquiries. The best way to reach him is his email address. Only as a backup, use VG’s cell phone: 603-289-0007.

Current Research

Global By Design: Creating Products to Capture Opportunities Near and Far (with MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor Amos Winter). Book Contract signed with HBR Press.

Global by Design tells readers how to create products and develop technologies that can capture new business opportunities in emerging markets and address some of the most compelling social/technical challenges facing the world today. It describes how, by creating low-cost, high- value products, companies can capture markets in historically ignored, poor countries and create disruptive solutions to problems in wealthy, mature markets. While my original contribution, the NYT and WSJ best seller Reverse Innovation, describes, from a business strategy perspective, how companies can spot opportunities in emerging markets, Global by Design addresses the next critical question: how do the designers and business leaders who hope to leverage reverse innovation actually realize a new product?

Global by Design fills a critical niche in the field of Design Thinking, a practice that enables organizations to think through difficult, multifaceted problems while considering the needs of their customers. Our book presents the often neglected perspective of unconventional clients in emerging markets. It explains why designers must actively investigate and understand their needs, as well as the needs of all the stakeholders required to bring a product to fruition, and why this is particularly important when designers and customers come from vastly different cultural backgrounds.

Global by Design bridges the gap between artistic product design and quantitative engineering design, and it does so without sinking into the deeper mathematics that render many engineering books inaccessible. In plain and engaging language, and supported by real-world examples, our book tells designers, entrepreneurs, and executives in developed and developing countries how to use technical analysis combined with socioeconomic insights and user- centered product design to create low-cost, high-performance, disruptive products.

The process we present enables individuals, businesses, and development organizations to capture opportunities near and far in a geographical sense, and also in terms of time and large- scale impact. The next generation of designers and business leaders will create products for billions of consumers in poor countries – consumers who have largely been ignored. Doing that is harder than it may seem. If designing for that market were simply a matter of adapting rich market products to poor customers, all multinationals would be riding the economic tide of emerging markets, and poor countries would enjoy the benefits of clean water, sanitation, energy, and maternal health. In fact, creating high-value products for a global market requires more than adaption; it requires disruption. Innovative leaders with their eyes on global solutions must weave together ethnographics, economics, and engineering. Global by Design tells them how. It shares insights and describes proven practices that not only identify compelling problems and business opportunities, but generate solutions, validate their function in context, and explore ways that they can be disseminated to global markets.

In Global by Design, we offer readers a combination of two essential perspectives: engineering and product design; and business strategy. Both authors are highly regarded experts, and both have the uncommon ability to present complex ideas in language that is not just accessible, but a pleasure to read. This book will appeal to a broad audience, including business leaders, designers and engineers, and fellow academics in both the business and engineering communities.


Fusion Leadership: How Today’s Industrial Giants Can Win Tomorrow’s Digital Future (with Boston University Professor Venkat Venkatraman)

Digital transformation is a popular subject today.  Even so, the books that have been published on the topic can, we believe, be categorized into four: 

* Those that deal with technologies such as AI, Blockchain, Big Data, analytics, cloud, and security. 

* Those that deal with technology-related business concepts such as agility and platforms. 

* Those that deal with the lessons that can be learnt from digital leaders such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Google.  And 

* Books that deal with digital technologies as transformation drivers. 


Until now, most books have derived insights by analyzing asset-light sectors such as software, publishing, travel, retailing, music, and financial services.  The ideas, which can serve as reference points, are not directly applicable to asset-heavy industries.  Industrial market leaders recognize that digital technologies are important, but they don’t know how, when, and where to infuse them into their business models and organizations.  Most industrial CEOs end up delegating the application of digital technology to specialists such as CTOs or CDOs. 


We believe that the next wave of digital transformation will transform asset-heavy sectors such as transportation, industrial machinery, agriculture, logistics, energy, airlines, and healthcare.  In these industries, the physical infrastructure will continue to be relevant, but its role and importance will shift.  Cars may be computers on wheels connected to the cloud, but there will always be a need for physical cars and the factories that manufacture them.  What isn’t clear is whether cars will go the way of mobile phones, where the value has shifted from the hardware to the software. 


Many people believe that industrial companies are doomed to fail, and that born-digital companies will win, as we have seen in the case of asset-light industries.  But we believe that the industrial leaders of today have a good chance of executing digital transformations and winning if they recognize and respond to digital shifts.  It will not be easy if they continue to treat digital technologies as the bailiwick of functional managers such as CIOs and CTOs; they must re-architect their businesses and operating models for a digital future. 


The book we are writing is different in the sense that we will speak directly to the leaders of industrial companies, who recognize that their assets are becoming less productive but continue to reinvest in them instead of fusing digital technologies with industrial ones.  Highlighting the relative importance of physical assets and infrastructure, we will show how companies can progressively add digital functionality to their products, so they can deliver greater value to customers by observing products in use and solve customers’ problems. 


We will show how industrial companies go through different stages of fusion, where the industrial capabilities and digital functionalities are blended to create capabilities that will help the digital-industrials win against born-digital rivals.  We will also describe how value is created along the stages of fusion, and how value capture requires thinking beyond using digital technologies inside companies and looking at digital ways of engaging with ecosystem partners and customers. 


Our book is not a set of general platitudes.  We will highlight the tensions that crop up when defending the core and designing the new.  We will discuss how the leaders should think about the tensions and offer ways to resolve them.  Fusion is a dynamic process, so we will discuss the triggers that define the scale and speed of transformations for industrial companies. 


Every industrial company faces an existential dilemma today: Optimize the current business model by using digital technologies, or transform itself to become a digital-industrial pioneer by the end of the decade.  Our book will provide a compelling roadmap that will help companies not just survive, but thrive tomorrow. 


We daresay the world’s industrial leaders deserve such a book.