About the BookIn the last decade, many authors have written about the Indian brand of frugal innovation, particularly the success of Aravind Eye Hospital, and more recently, the debacle of Tata Nano. An impressive body of work has been created on examples of frugal innovation from India. Yet, scaling up of frugal innovation remains largely unexplored and a relatively new dimension.
Scaling Frugal Innovations: Insights from India, unpacks the scaling dimension of the widely known examples of frugal innovation from the Indian landscape. It presents the stories of pioneers of affordable solutions in speech areas of health care, like Aravind Eye Care System, Narayana Health, Jaipur Foot and National Institute of Speech & Hearing which scaled up their services to broaden and deepen access to their chosen constituency—the blind, the sick, the physically handicapped and the hearing impaired.
The book travels beyond the health care domain to inspiring transformation stories from India covering Amul and Sulabh International, which started small—yet scaled big. Amul not just helped farmers free up from the clutches of middlemen, but through many technological and management innovations, helped Amul become a big brand, and transformed India from a milk-deficient country into a milk-surplus nation. Sulabh—the affordable twin pour toilet not only helped millions access toilets, but also reduced open defecation, tackled a serious public health problem, and strongly advocated abolishment of the pernicious practice of manual scavenging. Finally, the book touches upon stellar examples of frugal innovation emerging from corporate India. Tata Nano, the famed 2000 dollar car and Tata Swach, the 20 dollar water filter, aimed at improving the life of Indians—one to provide safe and affordable personal transport to an Indian family—and the other to provide an affordable solution for clean drinking water.
All of these scaling organizations have made many small innovations—for one big impact. Through these case studies, the book examines how locally developed solutions scale up. It also makes an enquiry into what distinguishes them from others: Is it their business model, their leadership, innovation, partnerships, or policy support, or a mix of several of these characteristics? Researchers and those interested in innovation from India will not only uncover some gems in the book, but also get inspired by the stories of the visionary leadership of these organizations.About the Author/sVandana Kumar, an officer of the Indian Defence Accounts Service, is a graduate from Delhi University and a postgraduate from Carnegie Mellon University. She is presently Integrated Financial Advisor at the DRDO Headquarters. During her 23 years with the Government of India, she has worked in diverse assignments, including defence establishments and programs under Ministry of Defence and Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles. An expert in defence procurement and expenditure management, she also has a keen sense of issues contributing to achievement of outcomes.
Vandana has an abiding faith in the potential of India. She believes that unshackling decision-making and crafting an ecosystem which fosters innovation can propel India towards achieving her full potential and taking rightful place on the world stage.