‘Khadi Focus’ plan was a hastily drafted document, & when i pointed the glaring lapses. Colleague got upset :-)

October 15, 2017

Khadi Focus Plan

Commission Cell – KVIC:

I have reviewed the document ‘Project Khadi Focus’, and i have the following observations , concerns & suggestions .

  1. This is a supply-based document and does not discuss or factor “a consumption oriented” plan OR/ & efforts for “demand creation” or ‘New product lines’. All throughout the document, i searched for the consumption pattern and consumption trends over the past 2 -3 years and future projections, but I could not find the same . Such plans without any basis are bound to falter. A retail organization is based on the needs of the consumers and market dynamics, this document falls short on addressing the core issue of ‘consumption need gaps’ , ‘demand creation’ and ‘Competition analysis’. This should have been the starting point . So it is a manufacturing plan without a sales plan, which makes it incomplete
  2. This document makes no references to the ‘total apparel or fabric market’ and the ‘trends in apparel industry’ or refer to any forecasts about the annual growth in the industry/ segment. I expected that a plan to boost sales should ideally have been based on a market research or study conducted by KVIC to arrive at the details. Whereas , some good reports are freely available in India and should have been referenced for this document , there is no such mention.
  3. I did not find any mention, leave alone any convincing plan for addressing middle class family’s needs , youth and college going segment of the population; which will be a big contributor the boosting sales . Demographic segmentation is totally missing from this document , which is crucial for the consumption and growth of Khadi
  4. SWOT ( Strengths, Weakness , Opportunity & Threats) analysis is missing for Khadi, and this makes this document totally relying on the support from the Hon’ble PM’s messages, and it is at best, a ‘wishful thinking’, lacking any planning rigour needed for massive organic growth
  5. The serious lapses mentioned above makes this document questionable from the planning point of view. More so, since this document is based on the meeting on 23 August 2016 at the PMO, and this Khadi Focus was presented briefly to the commission in the form of a short power point presentation only on 26th September 2017.  Prime facie, it looks like that more than a year has gone into preparation of a document,  which falls short on fundamentals of a business plan
  6. Management summary (in common parlance is referred as Executive Summary) is way too long, and this makes it repetitive in the management summary & the main plan document. Ideally, this should have been 2 pages at max.
  7. Page 2 para 3 & again on page 12 para 1 it has a typo. It must be ‘ Editions’ and not ‘Additions’ of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
  8. I did not find a plan to connect rural artisans to national / global markets / consumers which is the key in today’s connected ( online sales driven) world. Ideally, it should have mentioned our SWOT analysis of the tie up with Paytm etc. and our future course of action.
  9. This document is weak on addressing profitability of artisans , logistics , visibility of Khadi , Quality of products and with no basis on the number of artisans needed to provide ‘gainful employment’ .
  10. The numbers mentioned on page 4 don’t add up. With KIs turnover of 1065 crore handled by 3.2 lakh artisans , the revenue per artisan comes to Rs. 33,281.25 Moreover, this is the retail turnover , which means the profits are barely anything ( may be Rs.6000 per artisan annually @ 20 % margin at the producer level). Even the data on the same page , of 2313 institutions Which will make it like the crisis of existence for people involved in KVI unless we address the fundamental issue of sustainability of KIs
  11. The paradigm shift mentioned on page 5 reads “Communities that works, the infrastructure that produces, and the markets that absorb the production’, but this is incomplete and ideally should have read “Artisan finds a gainful employment, robust infrastructure that produces quality products , and the markets that absorb the production, thereby leading to sustainable consumption and growth for Khadi’. Please remember , if the earnings of the artisans are not enough, we will have failed to address the sustainable growth model for KIs. Profit of rural artisans lies at the heart of this success story
  12. Page 6 para 2: If you add 15 lakh people with additional looms to work whole time and considering the existing 3.2 lakh artisans , the Rs. 5000 crore turnover for KIs would mean that retail value of Rs. 27472.00 for each artisan ( this is the retail turnover and the earning per artisan will be in the range of Rs.5500 per year). This cannot be attractive to any worker in today’s time, and will kill the artisans and their families. Right now, farmers commit suicides , after some time, Khadi artisans will start committing suicides with such faulty planning .
  13. Please refer your point on ‘Focus Strategy to increase Production on page 7. The document mentions main strategy is to increase Khadi Production. I think , this is wrongly placed and this validates the challenge I mentioned in point 1 . This document has failed to do the SWOT analysis and hence such a misplaced priority !!! Please address the issue I have raised in point 11 above before thinking of adding 15 lakh more artisans ( page 6) or adding more units ( page 7). Whereas , it is important to add more artisans and provide employment , but It cannot be done without have adequate ‘consumption markets’ and ‘gainful employment’ for people involved.
  14. You need a transition plan for transformation and which is completely missing in this document . The numbers don’t add up
  15. Page 6 gives an note on strategic focus and mentions four points . But what it mentions as strategies are in fact goals . I didn’t find the pathways leading to attain the goals like; how will you increase production , ensure national participation, develop community skill or invigorate market ( refer organogram on page 6).
  16. Khadi Plaza as a policy must be reviewed given the financial pressures and the cost of setting the Khadi Plaza as discussed in the commission stands at Rs.6-10 crore. We need to rationally allocate resources. I am given to understand that Jaipur Plaza is a massive waste of resources due to wrong decisions. We cannot squander the government funds meant to create employment and income for the poor and the rural artisans. Khadi Plaza must come out after proper market assessment ( refer my inputs on franchise document sent to myself early 2017) . Also, the commission must deliberate this issue of setting up Khadi Plaza’s after assessing the contributions of the existing Khadi Plaza’s. We must focus on asset light models, where the future growth should come through franchises and MBOs ( Multi-brand outlets ) and SIS ( shop-in-shops) retail models
  17. Page 8 para on PPPs: I am not sure if partnering with private companies to co-produce Khadi products will help us in the long run. May be , we will remain just a supplier of fabric and these companies will takeover the market of readymade Khadi products. I recall in my meeting dated 8th June of the SFC, wherein , I made a specific request to the S&T Director ; ‘please pick up the Khadi products made by Raymonds and find how we can reach that level of quality inhouse’. The strength lies in competing with them and not allowing them to kill our retail products. As a member of the Commission , I firmly believe, that by relying too much on such tie ups , we are going to kill our retail customers and lose them to private brands and also, one day, these companies will find a way to circumvent our procurement, product differentiation and deal directly with the artisans thereby making KVIC organization irrelevant over the next few years. Our goal should be innovations from end to end ( weaving to retailing) and managing the entire value chain within the exclusive realm of KVIC.
  18. Page 9 , para 1 : I am not convinced that MDAs will be sufficient / right mode to pay for the Rs.2011 crores with interest in five years ( page 20 last para). Please present the data on MDAs for the past two years.
  19. Page 11. Data on 35 % population living in remote corner of the country is without a basis . If this document is referring to the rural population , the data is wrong , it is around 67 percent and not 35 %. Also, there is no definition of remote corner in this document.
  20. Data presented in the Khadi Focus is inconsistent and confusing. On page 4, last para it mentions 137.49 lakh ( one crore thirty seven lakh) rural artisans employed by KVIs, and on page 11 it mentions 3.20 lakh micro-enterprises. Data sets used should be consistent and not confusing . I would like to see the basis for the data of 137.49 lakh rural artisans . Please provide the source of this data . When we are talking of Khadi Focus , we must only refer data pertaining to KIs.
  21. Page 18 under marketing strategy: I cannot understand the term ‘trendy’. If it’s a new design , has there been any study of apparel retail formats ?
  22. Page 18 under marketing strategy : the statement is contradictory and without any understanding of the production process and supply chain. If you are opening Khadi production to institutions and companies, it conveys your lack of understanding of the basic fact , that the individual artisans will not be able to compete with mass production from institutions and companies and will move out of the Khadi production. I didn’t find a justifiable reason for this misstep !! Would need to learn more about the reasoning behind . Please share the details and enlighten me
  23. Logistics & supply chain improvements finds no mention , whereas a three fold increase will need drastic improvements in procurement and supply chain.


The structure of Khadi Focus document could have been as follows( in my view);

  • Executive Summary – 1-2 page ( TORs, goals, recommendations. Please note that Executive Summary is normally 5-10 percent of the entire document)
  • A paragraph on PMs vision / meeting with PMO – Goal
  • Market estimates based on various forecasts/ reports for apparel / garment / fabrics for the next 3 years- data on the market , consumption trends , income of households and their expenditure on clothing
  • In house market research conducted by KVIC on consumers expectations and market assessment and needs, along with competitor analysis
  • Detailed sales, supply and profit analysis of tie-ups done till date like , ONGC / Railways / MOHFW/ Paytm etc.
  • Off-take from Ritu Berri collection & Benefits from Raymonds tie up
  • Target for sales
  • How to make Khadi weaving an attractive profession, and Khadi an attractive apparel in keeping with the needs of the consumers
  • How to convert non-khadi buyers into Khadi . No reference or mention about it
  • Product differentiation strategy – this is critical to ward off ‘Me too’ products.
  • Measures to strengthening and re-orienting the existing institutions and artisans
  • State-wise / district wise plan for priority areas for Khadi development is missing . Neither there is any analysis of state specific SWOT analysis for planning .
  • Measures to improve quality totally missing from the document , which is critical to sustaining customers and growth. I would have appreciated if there was a mention of initiatives for Quality Control / Quality Assurance
  • Training needs has not been touched upon in this document
  • Research and development and how to make Khadi ‘low maintenance’ . As of now , people have expressed concerns about Khadi being a ‘High maintenance’ office wear.
  • Also, we need new product lines and this is not finding a mention in this document
  • Outreach efforts
  • Logistics & supply chain improvements
  • Unconventional sales channels and plans – refer my detailed plan / note dated 02nd April , 2017
  • International sales
  • Half- yearly / Quarterly plan on marketing & sales
  • Break up of Rs.5000 crore retail sales into cost of manufacturing , cost of transportation , selling and break up of the associated cost and how we can add value in each step of the process would have given a robustness to this plan / document . Which is totally missing .
  • You need a transition plan for transformation and which is completely missing in this document

The lack of relevant date sets in this document reminds me of my mail dated Dec 28, 2016 on data that I have asked for , and I can see its importance in planning

There is a need of ‘Khadi Connect’ program which includes outreach to schools and colleges , National Khadi Yatra etc.. Please refer my mail dated on Khadi Marketing Workshop early 2017

How about Khadi clusters setting up their own retail arm / channel in ‘Village Hats in every town or linking them to customers directly through the Khadi app which I have already initiated in June.

Mention of reducing drudgery is missing and occupational health is important and needs to be addressed, if we wish to engage more artisans in KIs and boost up sales

Such an important document should have been prepared in consultation with the members of KVIC and other stake holders, and after a proper study conducted by KVIC.  Every member of KVIC is handpicked by the Central Government based on specific skill-sets . But this brings me back to the two pager letter sent by our Member-South Zone in September on the way KVIC is being run without taking members views into decision making. Also, surprisingly, no market study was conducted ( it has not reference in this document) to arrive at a plan for attaining Rs.5000 crore in sales and it is shocking to see a document lacking any fundamental basis of reference to any data to arrive at the plan, to achieve the sales and that too, when it has taken a year to prepare this document .

But , I am sure that Hon’ble PMs call will itself be enough to boost the sales as long as we can cater to it !!!

My best wishes for success

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

Expert Member ( Marketing)

Khadi & Village Industries Commission &

Member, National Khadi & Village Industries Board


Why the corrupt & incompetent at KVIC are so upset with me :-)

Date           :         April 02, 2017

From           :         Rajendra Pratap Gupta , Expert Member (Mktg). KVIC

To               :         Chief Executive Officer, Khadi & Village Industries Commission

CC              :         Chairman, Commission Members, Deputy CEO’s & other

concerned officials

Reference :        Following up on e-mails sent on Dec 28th 2016, 26th Jan 2017,  March 01 2017, April 01 2017 & Next steps


The following may be noted and a time bound action plan be submitted to the Commission in the next meeting. Views of other members may be incorporated as and when received.


The following data needs to be collated and presented in the next meeting. I understand that most of the data has already been collected post my email dated 28th December, 2016.

  1. a) How many stores are owned by KVIC b) how many are not owned by KVIC.

Details with location needed.

  1. What is the turnover per store (city-wise)
  2. How many average footfalls per day – store-wise
  3. Average bill value per customer – store-wise
  4. Number of staff per store
  5. Turnover per employee for each store (total turnover of the store divided by

the number of employees in a store).

  1. Highest moving category per store (break it up into rural / urban / state-wise)
  2. Peak –sales period (festive or discount season) and the categories that sell

during the period

  1. Operational cost per store in various cities
  2. How much is the marketing spend and what are the marketing activities – state and store-wise
  3. Is the marketing spend different for each store? What is the rationale for marketing budget allocation
  4. Any stores incurring losses
. Please provide details
  5. What are the product margins category-wise
  6. Do we have any quality-checks for the products. Please detail the quality control and quality assurance initiatives for various product lines. We need to ensure that the customers get the best value for their money spent at KVIC.
  7. Details of in-house institute / lab for quality checks
  8. Complete competitor / market analysis be done in-house to ensure that we are up-to-date on the evolving market dynamics, and our plans are future proof, keeping the competition in mind. If any competitor analysis has been done in the past, the same be presented in the next meeting

Action plan for 2017

For me, marketing is about activities that support sales; Increase our reach, foot falls, bill value, new customer acquisition, customer retention, customer service, increase sales of slow moving stock, as all this helps to improve profitability and enhances the value of the ‘Khadi’ brand . Also, marketing helps sales, and hence, quality of the products that we sell must also be of the best value to the customer. Hence all activities must cover these over-arching ideas.

  1. Details of special promotions / initiatives to increase store foot-fall, boost sales and profitability
for 2017. Success stories of the past should be presented
  2. Details of the new introductions planned 
in 2017.
  3. Marketing plan 
quarter-wise with objectives for each activity
  4. Which innovations are we trying to improve awareness and usage of Khadi products
  5. One dayKVIC Marketing Workshop to be organized in Delhi within the next 2 months. We must invite (a) All Commission members (b) Three representatives  from each Khadi Bhawan ( Incharge / Marketing person / Category head ( if we have ) (c ) Supplier representative of KVIC products across all categories and all partner institutions, and individual experts.  Would welcome suggestions from other members on the list of invitees

This workshop aims to brainstorm on ideating the best of marketing strategies to (a) Make KVIC products a household name (b) to ensure that the marketing is able to support the sales as per the vision of the Hon’ble PM (that every Indian must purchase  one garment of Khadi every year ) (c) Our bouquet of offering must cater to the needs of the household besides just Khadi d) We must explore online channel for wider reach and catering to the latent / potential needs of KVIC products to every household across the nation and beyond

  1. ‘National Khadi Week’ may be observed every year to host events, fashion shows, national essay writing competitions and debates, promote wearing khadi – all activities that rekindle the interest for Khadi . A plan be devised for the same and submitted by 07th Please let me know if the team wishes to sit with myself and discuss the same. We can start Khadi week once a year and seeing the response , we can plan a Khadi week twice a year. We can have a Winter & Summer Khadi week nationally, across zones, states and districts. This week can also lead to much wider visibility and acceptance with the segments that have remained beyond our reach till now
  2. KVIC Earn While you Learn program .We need to widen our outreach. I suggest that the KVIC marketing and sales team work in tandem on engaging the marketing / MBA interns for selling Khadi / KVIC products to various housing societies and corporates during the summer internship, and we can offer them retail margins on the sales of goods (under KVIC Earn while you Learn program). This can be extended around the year and across the country and not be just limited to MBA graduates but extended to all college going students and other people willing to enroll, besides the students. This will have a multiplier effect on our sales without any financial expenditure, and also, this will extend our outreach beyond our imagination. We can use Aadhaar based verification for employing people under this scheme. We may opt for taking a Rs.10,000 deposit and give them products for Rs.13000.00 (on MRP Value). So, they can earn Rs.3000 on the sale. Many such models can be developed by the team, and i will be happy to assist in developing this program. This can create employment opportunities for people ( part-time and full-time ) … SHGs ( Self-help groups) can also be leveraged for this program.
  3. Khadi Stores at major airports & train stations : before the end of this year, we must be present in major train stations and at least four-six major Indian airports . This will not just help in increasing sales, but it will be a marketing opportunity for travellers ( 30 million people travel by train daily, and millions of travelers use air travel and we must target them post the security hold area only ) . Next step would be open our outlets in major tourist cities of the world by early next year. Need a plan for the same and happy to assist the team on this.
  4. We must consider to participate in large corporate conferences with over 1000+ delegates in audience and take a stall for our products. These stalls must have a POS (point of sales) credit card terminal . We must frame a policy for this.

Also, besides participating in other conferences, KVIC must consider starting the ‘Ideas from India’ or ‘The Idea of India’ conference, an annual mega thought leadership summit, brain-storming ideas about ‘Global peace and Development’. Being sponsored by Khadi India and attended by leading national and international figures, this will become the most sought after conference based on content, and the official dress code for this conference be ‘Khadi wears’.

  1. KVIC, subject to availability of funds, must explore mobile sales outlets – Mobile vans. May be, a pilot can be explored to start with
  2. I have not seen a discussion in our last three meeting on KVIC efforts in social media. Also, a social media strategy as a part of the marketing strategy be initiated . I would suggest that the entire website be revamped. It looks too ‘administrative’ and over cluttered.  We must ensure that the website is customer oriented and there is ease of navigation, and we must let people register / leave their email id’s for us to create a database of customers for mailing list and promotions (even at the stores we must start doing this and start capturing the mobile numbers ), so that we can send them e-mailers / SMS for the new launches and offers . This will go a long way in connecting with our customers and boosting our sales
  3. We must replace paper carry bags with Khadi reusable bags, which must be branded with KVIC product and other information etc.. Please explore this option with cost / environment / branding perspective
  4. We must explore giving 5% discount to government employees . Please check the financial impact and FA must present a report in the next meeting
  5. EMI based purchase with SBI and other credit cards be initiated
  6. NCC / NSS / Scouts tie up be initiated for Khadi dress material
  7. Tie up with Indian Medical Association for Aprons of doctors and same for nurses and pharmacists – I have already initiated this
  8. Our Tag line needs to be, ‘ Buy Indian . By Indians and Be Indian’.
  9. USP ( unique selling proposition) of Khadi is that it is, “ Eco-Friendly, Skin Friendly and with a Zero Carbon Foot print’. Same be high-lighted in stores and out of store promotions
  10. Explore setting up of ‘Khadi International Division’ for exports, and operating stores internationally within the current KVIC structure as a separate SBU ( Strategic business unit).
  11. Modi Kurta and Modi Jacket ( under NAMO or Modi brand ) be considered for new launches . Also, as a strategy, we must promote both Nehru and Modi / Namo brand, and based on the initial off-take (sales response), we must replenish the stocks, so that consumer’s choice prevails and we don’t get labeled as biased
  12. Commemorative stamp and envelope be launched by KVIC on KVIC foundation day or during the Khadi week OR two stamps ( one for each Khadi week ) be done
  13. Register all charkhas and looms across the country as a part of the overall IT deployment and adoption
  14. We must get the valuation of ‘Khadi’ as brand done through an independent assessor
  15. Loyalty program be initiated when the IT deployment happens across the KVIC system. Also, a lucky draw be initiated for a certain bill value, which might lead to enhancement of the bill value
  16. KVIC must have its own online sales channel before December 2017. We might start with a few select product range and then expand to all by Mid 2018. This can increase our turnover by 2-5 times. Tie up with Post-office be explored. Also, post man could be wearing Khadi Dress. We must explore the same.
  17. Tie up with MBOs (Multi brand outlets) for Shop-in-shops to increase our outreach and sales . We must not just confine to our stores. Similarly, the franchise model be rolled out within 3-5 months with proper safeguards as pointed in the advertisement and agreement ( mail dated Jan 16/17 , 2017) .
  18. All tourist offices be approached for a mutually beneficial association . We can discuss the details
  19. We must have tailors at major KVIC stores, for ‘made to order’ / ‘custom made’ sales and for increasing employment
  20. Organic products must be an essential offering of Khadi
  21. Tribal products be patronized as ‘Heritage Brand / products’ and sold at airport / international stores / online. This will not only provide a good product line for marketing/ sales, but also provide employment and income and help in lifting the tribal economy over the long run
  22. KVIC must sell charkha’s as souvenirs besides artifacts associated with Mahatma Gandhi, including the bust of Mahatma Gandhi
  23. ‘Khadi’ Magazine must be started . It used to be highly popular but seems to have been discontinued . I will take the editorial responsibility
  24. R&D must be given a boost. Need details of all our R&D efforts
  25. During my store visits, I have noticed that proper directions (Neon signs) for trial rooms and product categories are missing in stores .. The same may be attended on priority by April 30th.
  26. Delhi – Regal store merchandizing (in-store arrangement) needs to be redone. Please discuss
  27. All store employees MUST wear Khadi uniform with Jackets having ‘name badge’. This will help customers to identify sales people and seek help, if needed
  28. Given the poor service levels at all stores, a ‘Mystery Shopper’ program be launched with an outsourced agency . Store sales staff should make a note of the product bouncing, and the same be informed to the inventory management team Also, all stores should have a message plate (sign board) prominently displayed behind every billing counter, “For feedback / complaints , please write to customer@kvic.gov.in. An email id be created with access provided to designated commission members and Deputy CEO rank official to address customer service related issues immediately.
  29. Tie up be initiated with NIFT ( National Institute of Fashion Technology) for new designs, and the contest be kept open to young creative minds. Same may be promoted on social media. Best designs be crowd-soured and rewarded
  30. Delhi Regal store is overstaffed ( 91 people)  when on the other side we have 2 staff at KGB Goa and Bhopal ( Are these the numbers of full time KVIC employees only or are there people on contract basis too  ? ). We need to rationalize the staff at each store and see what is the revenue per staff at every store … one of the indicators of bringing productivity at the floor level. Also, the store timing and working days should be as per the local market where it is located.
  31. During my surprise visits to KGB ( Delhi / Mumbai ), I have seen that the staff has been least interested in attending to customers. In fact, at the Regal store, i have seen our sales staff at the basement (cosmetics section, which is a major contributor to sales and profits ) sitting and chatting or playing on their cell phones, counter staff giving wrong information about price and availability to ‘potential’ customers , and the same has been reported to Supervisor / Mr. A.K. Garg .

Mumbai lounge is exceptional in customer service but the Mumbai HQ store is pathetic in customer service. We need to initiate ‘Store staff training program’ and this must be taken up on priority by the marketing team. If in future, i visit a store and find the shop floor people not attending to the customers, i would expect action against the supervisor

  1. ISO certification of Khadi Bhawans and offices must be done before 2017 financial year


Administrative issues

  1. We don’t get any time to discuss in detail the ‘Spot agenda’ items added in our monthly board meetings, and hence justice cannot be done with these ‘spot agendas’. No additional agenda be added on spot for the board meeting, except the one circulated to the members in advance ..
  2. Meeting notes be read out in the end, so that the points missed can be incorporated immediately
  3. Internal discussion forum for all employees be started either through an online forum or as an app for people to exchange views , success stories etc.
  4. I have seen that we are investing too much time in routine administrative issues. As discussed, the CVO (Chief Vigilance Officer) needs to bring the files to the commission only twice (Unless there is an exceptional action item for the members of the commission to deliberate / decide ) . Files should ideally be brought before the commission, 1) during seeking approval for inquiry 2) seeking decision on the final inquiry report 3) and all inquires be time bound. Same should be followed for most of the administrative issues. Commission’s time is being consumed majorly on issues other than forward looking and growth oriented / progressive agenda, and this must be addressed on high priority by the CEO
  5. It is observed that the officials need reminders to respond on queries from the Commission and the same be avoided. Whilst I do understand that all senior officials are busy and overloaded, but a response seeking more time would help rather than ‘No Response’. Also, I have seen the minutes of the previous three meetings I have attended. After each item number, there is an end note ‘Action’,  against which the designation of the official is written, which brings forth the accountability of the officials responsible for taking action and this is much appreciated. Also, now onwards, a time for completion (Completion date / completed by and report) be mentioned against each ‘Action’, along with the official responsible for it. Else, it is difficult for the members of the Commission to track what action was taken and when? Also, summary of such decisions of the previous three meetings be placed before the commission on a quarterly basis, so that we know if the organization has worked as per the directions of the commission and timely !.
  6. Commission members need to re-look at the organization structure to make it more efficient and agile, given the pace of high growth . One of the ideas is to move to a ‘Category heads’ organization structure with ‘transformational’ sales target and not just incremental sales growth.

We are a small and a cohesive team and we must ensure that we do the best possible to achieve the vision set for KVIC

Thanking you once again for all your support, and assuring you of the best of attention and support at all times

Best regards

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

Expert Member (Mktg)

Khadi & Village Industries Commission

Continue reading “Why the corrupt & incompetent at KVIC are so upset with me :-)”

Rules for innovators & Innovation

Innovation as a basic instinct for India to be an ‘Innovation Capital’ 

The recently released ‘GE Global Innovation Barometer 2018’ (GIB), is a good reference document. As always, being published by a corporate, it will have its share of ‘business interests’ at its core to ensure that the government and corporates think in a manner that helps the businesses, but a few points of the report are really important!!

As a student and a practitioner of innovation, I write this article to clear some basics about innovation

According to GIB,

  • The top five innovation conducive countries have the five largest GDPs; USA, Japan Germany, China and the U.K.
  • India is amongst the countries where multinationals are the main driver for innovation and going by the historical tracking data at a global level,this had the largest increase from 2014 to 2018
  • When it comes to SMEs being the main driver for innovation in a country (Historical tracking data at a global level); Germany comes to the top, and India is amongst the bottom (10 %)
  • In emerging economies, governments are now not seen to be driving innovation as much as they were in 2014.

When India is trying to grow to a 10 trillion-dollar economy over a decade, we cannot ignore the above facts. India has to become a pioneering leader in innovation to have a sustainable growth and become a strong economy as we cannot achieve our goals without innovation. The government needs to take the lead for innovation! Instead of MNCs driving innovation in India, it must be the MSMEs which should be majorly driving it.

In 2016, the World Bank said that, 69 % of the jobs in India are under threat due to automation, and that’s a part of the natural evolution and maturity; but another fact that we should remember is, that if India innovates in MSME, agriculture, education, health, smart cities, tourism and services sector, we will create more jobs than we can ever think of. Every household can have a decent job in the next 10 years and for that, we need the ‘India Innovation Mission’. Innovation is not prescriptive i.e. we cannot issue a G.O (Government Order) that India will innovate from tomorrow.

Let’s understand some basics about innovation:

  1. Innovation is not about incremental change or tweaking some processes. It is about massive change that disrupts and transforms a sector forever. Example;
  • Digital Photography transformed photography sector
  • Mobile phones changed the communication sector and created a massive impact
  • Kindle transformed how we read, and the publishing sector
  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) transformed how we send satellites in space cost effectively, and India has become a world leader in PSLV launches.
  • Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a wonderful example of how India innovated against odds. I call it the ‘MOM model of innovation’, wherein, we landed at Mars at the cost of USD 74 million versus a USD 674 million Maven of the US, and much cheaper than the movie ‘Gravity’ that costed USD 100 million!! Moreover, we landed in our very first attempt!!
  • Aravind hospitals transformed cataract surgery
  1. Any Innovation needs to qualify a few basic criteria;
  • Changes the sector forever
  • Creates a mass impact
  • Affects the entire value chain
  • Disrupts the price- market – usage
  • Is asset light
  • Is Scalable and stimulates further innovation
  1. Innovation can be in three spheres; product (mobiles), process (Ola, Uber) and system (Toyota).

India presents a unique opportunity to innovative in almost every sector. Everything in India that can be touched has the potential to be innovated and transformed. Since we have huge population to cater to, and we have resource crunch in terms of finances and infrastructure; the only way India can survive is by innovating, and the challenges in India present a fertile ground, making India a melting pot for innovation.

So, how do we go about making India the innovation capital? India needs to set up the India Innovation Mission (I2 M), under which, we address the following;

  • Top priority – change the work place setting, culture and environment.
  • Education system has to transform. As a member of the National Education Policy committee, I have made specific recommendations. If implemented, it will be a great contributor
  • Government needs to change the way it interfaces with the public and how it functions. Authoritative culture is against the basic tenets of innovation

A lot to learn from the USA: I have travelled most of the world, and I observed that USA remains a leader in innovation, and we can learn a lot from the US. I arrived at the following six commandments for making an organization/institution/ country innovative;

  1. No hierarchy based protocols & no formalities amongst colleagues
  2. Flexibility in approach in all spheres of functioning.
  3. Self-development – quality time with family and for self
  4. Meritocracy based system
  5. Failure is not a taboo
  6. Availability of capital

Innovation cannot be enforced externally and has to be inculcated as an ‘intrinsic quality’, facilitated by a conducive ‘ecosystem’, with ‘planned efforts’. In India, under the I2 M, we need to bring a massive and planned change

More so, with PM Modi’s vision of a New India , India will have to become the Innovation capital of the world and Innovation has to be the basic instinct . The same principles apply to every developed and developing country to become an innovative country.

We should remember; Earlier, we innovated when we got into a problem, now if we don’t innovate, we will get into a problem.

Prof. Rajendra Pratap Gupta holds a master degree in innovation & change management, is a Distinguished Professor of Innovation @ a Central University