“Reverse Innovation:  The epicenter of disruptive revolution”

Ahlers Center International Speaker SeriesDr. VG
Dr. Vijay Govindarajan

“Nobody has a monopoly over good ideas.”
-Kevin O’Leary

It couldn’t have been proven better than by Reverse Innovation. It was an honor to participate in the talk by Dr. Vijay Govindarajan (popularly known as Dr. VG) – Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and undeniably one of the best “Thinkers of the world.” Here are a few highlights of Ahlers Center International Speaker Series Luncheon, and I hope to do justice in summarizing Dr. VG’s thought process.

“Non-consumers have the same issues as consumers.”  With simple yet essential understanding of consumer behavior, the world has been missing out on better serving communities and countries whose needs (that might not seem so significant now – at least from an investment perspective) can be the very stem for innovative ways to address generic issues.  Reverse innovation is fundamentally true across all industries and will change the thinkers’ perception of “price paradigm,” pushing them towards low- cost, yet high- quality solutions.

Dr. VG1-001


Reverse Innovation

Dr. VG gave a number of examples of Reverse Innovation, including the example of Narayana Hrudayalaya, a for-profit multispecialty hospital chain in India. Through this example, Dr. VG demonstrated how a low-cost and high-quality Indian healthcare service provider has become a global healthcare envy. The hospital has been the most profitable in its field by replicating what was demonstrated years ago by Henry Ford, who created mass production lines in the automobile industry, which was only perceived to be a craft until then. They also stand testimony to the fact that quality effectively needs to be better in poorer countries, which makes the solutions created in emerging markets more acceptable to the problems of rich nations. By working on economies of scale, where inventory control, standardization and cost-cutting are key, Narayana Hrudayalaya looks forward to serving the US health care needs in the Cayman Islands – an example of how reverse innovation can be adapted to serve wealthier countries at a fraction of the anticipated cost.

While touching more on the projects that Dr. VG has pioneered, the “$300 dollar house“ is a fascinating initiative that made us rethink the multiple industries from which reverse innovation can emerge. Doing more from less, and committing in doing better to society while making a profit seemed like the perfect advice for MBA students as indeed charity is not scalable but a challenge for innovation.

When questioned about which topics excites Dr. VG the most about innovation, it was great to hear him speak about healthcare, education and housing as the primary motivating issues in the world giving endless opportunities to entrepreneurs and businesses to capture. The fabulous one-hour ended on a great note with Dr. VG highlighting on income inequality being the number one issue in the world and how the future generation should work towards compassionate and inclusive capitalism for the greater good.

Written by
Sudeeptha Jothiprakash, a first year Full-Time MBA student in the International Business track
Prior to joining USD Sudeeptha worked at SAP Labs a global giant in the IT industry. Her experience in her 4 year tenure was as an Operations lead for process improvement, resource & vendor management. She is highly committed to sustainability through CSR and sustainable initiatives.

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