„Deutsche Baumaschinen zu gut für den Weltmarkt“ titelte Die Welt am 17.4.2013. Deutsche Maschinenbauer werden dem Bericht zufolge trotz Innovationstrophäen von den Märkten der Schwellenländer verdrängt. Die Gründe sind sowohl die fehlende Zahlungskraft als auch die abnehmende Zahlungsbereitschaft lokaler Kunden. Anstelle hoch komplexer („over-engineered“) und damit einhergehend teurer Produkte fragen sie erschwingliche und robuste Technik nach, die häufig aus anderen Ländern und insbesondere aus den Schwellenländern selbst kommt. Solche „good enough“ Produkte, Lösungen mit ausreichender Funktionalität bei guter Qualität und einem sehr wettbewerbsfähigen Preisniveau, kennzeichnen den Innovationsansatz „frugaler Innovationen“.
A report of the Associate Press appearing on the Internet site of India’s NDTV.com (October 6, 2013), says:
File pic: A man gets during the annual cattle fair in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Photo: Associated Press. Coutsey: NDTV.com
New York: Procter & Gamble executives say it was striking the first time they witnessed a man shave while sitting barefoot on the floor in a tiny hut in India.
He had no electricity, no running water and no mirror.
The 20 US-based executives observed the man in 2008 during one of 300 visits they made to homes in rural India. The goal? To gain insights they could use to develop a new razor for India.
„That, for me, was a big ‚a-ha,'“ said Alberto Carvalho, vice president, global Gillette, a unit of P&G. „I had never seen people shaving like that.“
The visits kicked off the 18 months it took to develop Gillette Guard, a low-cost razor designed for India and other emerging markets. Introduced three years ago, Guard quickly gained market share and today represents two out of every three razors sold in India. The story of how Guard came to be illustrates the balance companies must strike when creating products for emerging markets: It’s not as simple as slapping a foreign label on an American product. […]
According to a report appearing the Economic Times (Mumbai, Oct. 4, 2013), „India Inc’s rural champions have probably never had it so good.“ A good monsoon is seen as having „kindled hopes of a turnaround in demand for key products“.
A Hero SPLENDOR-NXG. Photo courtsey: Hero Motocorp
The ET report citing an unnamed study by the Deutsche Bank says: „At a time when the rest of India Inc is either groaning under heavy debt or struggling to sell in a sluggish market, companies with heavy rural focus are literally licking their lips in anticipation of a surge in demand in India’s villages and towns. Already, two-wheeler sales are inching up, tractor sales are booming and banks are hiring employees in far-flung regions, hoping to benefit from a monsoon that has increased the kharif area by 5% and water reservoir levels by 15%.“
The 7 firms examined in the study are Hero Motocorp, Emami, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, M&M Fin Services, and ITC. All of these companies can be regarded as champions in having mastered the „frugal challenge„.
In this report BBC reporter Anna Lacey looks into how „the most low-tech methods can produce good medical results“ and dwells on how mosquito nets are now being used to repair hernias.
According to the report, an Indian surgeon, Dr. Ravi Tongaonkar, came up with the idea of „using sterilised mosquito mesh as a low-cost substitute for the expensive commercial meshes currently in use.“ „His mosquito meshes work out around 4,000 times cheaper than imported mesh and he has used them to fix 591 hernias“, says the report.
And, apparently, they are performing quite well. „The only difference is the polymer used to make them,“ says Dr Sanders, „but it makes no difference clinically.“
Apparently, India too is performing quite well as a lead market for frugal innovations….