Archive for February, 2010
In a country like India, where the 70% of the people live in rural area, the rural market holds a lot of marketing potential. There is a wide spread difference in the standard of living between urban and rural India. In order to launch products and develop advertising for rural market there is a need to understand both the rural context and also the consumer.
This article by Satish Chandra and Sowmya Shankar, provides the opportunity to explore consumers and the type marketing programmes which emphasizes the advertising patterns on consumer dividend that has been successful in emerging markets and more specifically in rural India. The article begins by discussing the marketing opportunity for companies in rural India and then progresses to focus on some of the unique characteristic of rural India and how this translate into innovative advertising programmes for companies entering the rural market and finally to see the advertising in rural area.
Read the entire article here.
The idea of supplying free electricity to farmers has created political ripples across the country based on the belief that supplying electricity for free would be an onerous option for the Government as electricity production is expensive. Chandrakant Pathak a mechanical engineer from Gujarat remarks that free electricity for farmers is not all that impossible and it is quite an easily achievable goal and points that anything that moves can be used to generate power. He has invented an array of interesting improvised power generating gadgets to suit the needs of rural people.
This article documents all those interesting innovative power generating and modified power-consuming gadgets of everyday use, like motor pumps, flour mills and even electric vegetable shredders that could run on manual or bullock power. He believes that if accent was placed on local power production by the people, not only would the cost per unit of power come down dramatically, but the entire power problem would become non-existent in a few years.
Read the full article here.
In a world often designed for and maintained by the majority, the issues that matter most to the minorities are more often than not unattended to. Among the several factors that motivate the development sector, the empowerment of women is ranked high. It has been widely acknowledged that when women are empowered with financial and social independence, there is a perceptible improvement in the health of their children, their access to education and overall household income.
Several generations of social change have lead to the growing empowerment of women in society: the eradication of foot binding in China, the abolishing of sati in India, women’s suffrage in New Zealand. In a world that is constantly evolving, the potential for innovation to improve the lives of poor women has never been bigger. This is the theme of the report published by the International Center for Research on Women, Innovation for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.
In their report authors, Anju Malhotra, Jennifer Schulte, Payal Patel and Patti Petesch explore the catalytic effects that innovation and gender role have on each other. Crucially, they ask how and when do innovations create long-term, positive shifts in gender relations? To find answers to their questions, the researchers employ an in-depth look at eight ‘innovations’ across three domains: technology use, social norm change and economic resilience.
Their findings showed how a broad range of innovations resulted in substantial benefits for millions of women, how influential people play an important role in launching or facilitating innovation, and how favorable conditions and timing capitalize on social and economic transformation can cause broad-based shifts in the empowerment of women.
The report identifies seven levers that need to be integrated into technological, economic and social innovation. Their report points to the need to break the mold and require that stakeholders think and act beyond existing, predefined parameters.
Read the entire report, here.
To “go green” today is much less a fashion statement as it may have been even five years ago. Today its not just cool, or hip to go (environmentally) green, one is often expected to do so. I was recently chastised for buying a set of incandescent light bulbs, and was only let off the hook, when I pointed out that my need was rather urgent, and the store didn’t stock the long-lasting enviro-friendly ones. My guilt hit away at me the entire evening, and to be honest, I haven’t been able to install those incandescents.
The search for alternative energy needs continues as the perils of global warming get more real year on year. The development of new energy systems however are determined by choices. These choices are becoming more and more pronounced and articulated.
As technology develops to meet these choices, business need to plan for a future of changing scenarios. Shell, a leading energy company actively plans fo varying scenarios to help them manage their future better. According to the company, scenario planning helps focus on “critical uncertainities. On things we don’t know about which might transform our business. And on the things we know about in which there might be unexpected discontinuities.”
As part of their scenario planning, in 2001 Shell looked at the possible energy scenarios in 2050. They identify two possible scenarios – Dynamics as Usual or The Spirit of the Coming Age.
Dynamics as Usual contends that various competing priorities will limite the adoption of radical technology change. For example, countries like India and China will seek greater economic growth, while developed OECD countries will seek to improve energy efficiency furthering the life of the internal combusion engine. This scenario will aslo see fluctuating government support for renewable energies.
The Spirit of the Coming Age will see ’superior ways of meeting energy needs’ being developed. This, Shell contends, will be a world of experimentation and many failures. Fuel cells appear to be the order of the day in this scenario. Not surprisingly Shell suggests that technology innovation will often arise from niche market fringes, where physical constraints force innovation and consumers are willing to pay a premium. Incumbent suppliers, they suggest, often ignore these markets.
The forecast in both scenarios have interesting implications for energy solutions in the developing world, and by extension the BoP. Personally, I belong to the group that believes that the developing world needs to take more cognizance of environmental challenges, and must rise up to those challenges by seeking out alternative, efficient solutions that do not compromise economic progress. Easier said than done. But here’s where technology support can play a huge role. If we can successfully engage the IITs, IIScs and the innumerable other technology labs in India to provide solutions to our energy needs, we could provide the right kind of solutions for the coming age. Innovation, after all is often borne out of necessity.
Read the entire Shell Scenario Report here.
Earlier, we had a piece by Anand Krishnaswamy about an innovative milk vending technology developed by Chennai-based Invention Labs. That piece looked at the demand side of milk, and how it reaches the end-user.
But what of the supply side? How does the market and policy environment affect the poor who work within the dairy sector? A 2002 paper published by the FAO highlights some of the critical issues facing poor people withing the Indian dairy sector.
An excerpt from the Executive Summary is below:
This paper analyzes the changes in dairy markets, policies, and trade over the past two decades and discusses what can be expected in the next decade. We analyze the changes in production, consumption and trade, as well as the changes in policies and the industry structure, and discuss how various factors have affected the market and trade situation. The paper is organized as follows: we first discuss the macro-view of the Indian dairy sector. Then we discuss policy changes and the expected effects of globalization and trade liberalization on the scale and scope of production. In the next section we discuss the changes in the cost and return structure of dairy production and the processing sector, trends in input and output prices, and breeding and health services. In the last section we discuss the impacts of commercialization of the dairy sector on socio-economic, health- environment issues.
Read the original paper here.