Any innovation to succeed in India has to have the basic parameter of affordability factored in.Let the innovation be on technology, products, services, for the innovation to succeed in the country , it should be affordable for the masses. I shall try to explain my statement with the help of a few examples.
The recent innovation in mobile phone telephony is a case at point. When the mobile phones were expensive, rarely few people had mobile phones in their hands and tariffs used to be exceedingly prohibitive, like Rs 20/ minute for an outgoing call and the same rates for an incoming call, in the early 2000s.
The next example I wish to point out is that of Tata Nano car. It was the cheapest affordable quality car priced at less than 1.5 lakhs, in the country. This forced other manufacturers to come up with cheap models and the latest is Datsun Go under Nissan to plan to make an entry and capture the Indian market. The auto majors of the world rolling their offerings include GM Beat, Huyndai Eon, Maruti 800/ Alto (already there) and now the Datsun Go ..
The Indian population is well informed about the need, the product or the service, but the question is only of affordability. This makes the innovators to really burn the midnight oil and offer great products and services at the lowest price. In India even the people who can afford would spend less with plans of saving his wealth for the future. People are not yet ready to spend out of the way and outside the thrifty methods practiced by their forefathers. It will take some time for the culture to change, but only if it has to. Large demands seeking lower costs are driving the innovators to do even better and come out with real value products, this is the real innovation !
The innovation wave in the Education arena sweeping the world , Massive Open Online Courses, MOOC, is yet another example of free learning for the masses. The recent plan for Cognizant, TCS and Infosys to join hands with 7 IITs to offer MOOC courses for the Indian public who can access these courses from anywhere in the country, may be even from other developing countries from other parts of the world, may be really a defining factor in ensuring the roaring success of this model. Affordability, reach for the masses and scalability are thus the important factors for its success.