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Chapter 6: Conjectures on Innovation Drivers in an Emerging Market: India
6 Conjectures on innovation drivers in an emerging market: India Rajan Varadarajan INTRODUCTION A cursory examination of articles published in scholarly journals and the business press on innovation-related topics is indicative of a high level of interest among academics and practitioners in innovation-related issues in the context of emerging markets. Cases in point include literature focusing on innovation drivers in emerging markets such as product affordability by customers at the base of the market pyramid (e.g. Prahalad, 2006; Prahalad and Mashelkar, 2010) and product accessibility by customers in rural markets (e.g. Rangan, 2007). Improvisation as a driver of innovation also has a long and rich legacy in emerging markets. For instance, the word jugaad (a word in Hindi, the most widely spoken language in India) is commonly used in India to refer to a particular form of innovation – an improvisational style of innovation driven by scarce resources and attention to the immediate needs of customers rather than their lifestyle wants (BusinessWeek, 2009). Jugaad seems to have become part of the innovation lexicon as evidenced by recent books (Krishnan, 2010), magazine articles (Prahalad and Mashelkar, 2010) and articles in the business press (BusinessWeek, 2009; The Economist, 2010; New York Times, 2010). As a consequence of the transformation of a number of emerging markets (from relatively closed markets to markets that are much more open to free trade and global competition), the market environment in these markets has become increasingly competitive. In turn, there has been a growing recognition of the importance...
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