Destructive Innovation

11 01 2008

We have been hearing about innovation and creation for a long time now (ever since there has been human presence on this mother earth). There are many books available for reading and there are many eminent personalities to explain the same too. However, for a common human being, this term is still on the higher end. End of the day, every time we hear this term, we have one question in our minds – How does it matter to me? That’s a very correct point. I doubt if all of us understood the metal steel as well, until we heard the SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) punch line – There is little bit of steel in everyone’s life (Now it is rephrased to There is little bit of SAIL in everyone’s life). How true?

Innovation is all together a different process and all of us innovate in our own way to make lives simpler and happier. Consider an example of getting the newspaper from the gate to your sofa? We have seen in films and also in real life many people execute this – train the pet dog to fetch things. Remember the last time you did something destructive at home and you had an innovative lie to your parents. Do you remember the time when you had a better way to memorize those formulae? Everyday, you figure out a new way to home from work to avoid traffic and reach home soon. If I go with the list, we have many. But, how many times have we really innovated destructively? Yes…something to think about.

This is what exactly happened to Automobile industry on the 10th January 2008, with the Tata’s creating the Rupees One Lakh Car.

My co-blogger and friend Thejesh has consolidated most of the important comments by various personalities on his blog. None from the automobile industry provided a good citation of this innovation. Well, they are not able to digest. Deep in their hearts, they are happy, but the position they are in, does not allow them to comment more than that.

In their book Innovative India, Radhika Chadha and Parmit Chadha write about Auto, the most popular and amazing public transport vehicle which is well lauded by everyone (keeping the nosiness and pollution apart). When was the auto last re-invented after it has been invented? Almost never. There have been only 2/3 players in the Indian market and Bajaj is the leader in this. Why has there not been any change in the design or technology to make it better and safer? Interestingly, the authors have taken pains to speak to owners about how they feel and most of them felt that the auto needs more innovation and they are ready to pay more price as long as it is making sense. Why the manufacturers have’s not thought about doing something? Is it because they feel that they have the monopoly? Probably Yes.

Today, why am I writing about all these things is because I sincerely feel that Tata have Destructively Innovated something which no one has ever dreamt of. They have created the People’s Car and millions are waiting to own one.

Innovation is in thought process, commitment and the dare to dream big. Before Maruti 800 came on to road’s 20 years back, we thought that a car is only for the upper class and always have had a picture of the big RR or Ford’s which were with only limited in number. Maruti revolutionized the aspect of a car for family to travel. Now, Tata has again revolutionized the aspect of mobility.

In his article Decoding the Rs 1 lakh message, Mr. Ajit Balakrishnan in Business Standard today, mentions how confusing and tough make the west understand the terminology of “Lakh” in relation to the ‘millions’ which they have. Now, the whole world will understand what a Lakh means.

I am going to my hometown tonight and when I called my dad yesterday, he said “Can you please pick that 1 Lakh car and drive home?” I was really amazed. He was following the news channels and he wants to own one immediately. Mr. Tata, thank you for realizing my dad’s dream to own his own car with his own money (he retired as Principal for Government High School 12 years back and lives on his pension) instead of us, his children wanting to buy him one (He never allowed us to buy a car, because he wanted to own his own car).

There are many testimonials good and bad. However, I look at things optimistically. Let us wait and see what it is actually when it is on the road.

The 1 Lakh car is Destructive Innovation demystified.

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One response

20 08 2008
Jugaadu

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