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Gandhian Innovation

In this must-read article Innovation’s Holy Grail by Prahalad and Mashelkar, the authors state that the next generation innovation will be driven by affordability and sustainability, not premium pricing and abundance. The authors call the new innovation model as Gandhian Innovation because at the core of it lies the two Mahatma Gandhi’s tenets:
- “I would prize every invention of science made for the benefit of all”
- “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”

Fig: Innovation in India using Gandhian Model (Reference: Innovation’s Holy Grail)

Three kinds on Gandhian innovations

1. Disruptive business models using the low cost labor
2. Synthesizing several existing technologies and modifying organizational capabilities to offer new value added products
3. Developing and/or acquiring new capabilities to solve technical hurdles which require technology development or a collaborative approach

Rules for Gandhian Innovation
1. Deep commitment to serving the unserved
2. Unambiguous vision
3. Ambitious goals to foster an entrepreneurial spirit
4. Accept that constraints will always exist, and creatively operate within them
5. Focus on people, not just shareholder wealth and profits

Reference: For more information read “Innovation’s Holy Grail”, C.K. Prahalad and R.A. Mashelkar, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2010.

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