Design & Innovation


Years ago I worked in Moscow and was amazed at how many “Remont” or repair shops there were and, how many women carried empty shopping bags – just in case. Making do was a way of life in Soviet times but the Remont shops closed as the throw-away society came in. Jugaad, a common-sense approach to making do is the Indian way.

Now for the factories

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Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam is for locals, it is not the place for tourist trinkets. Since 1974, it has been a hub for local informal trade and with East and Central Africa. With daily business transactions of about $10 million and over 55,000 visitors daily Kariakoo is the centre of all kinds of businesses: estate development, banking, consultancy and shopping malls, buzzing with deals from street traders to business tycoons. The market also attracts customers from as far as Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe among other countries.

Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam

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Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said of India that there are some places resembling Sub Saharan Africa and others California. Bangalore is one of the places he had in mind. Home of major Multi Nationals and leading Indian Corporations like Infosys, the place has the feel of a high tech hub. Some would say that this is at the expense of Indian authenticity and others, are disappointed that Bangalore is busy losing its Indian heritage in a rush to be the modern showcase.

Recently, there has been increasing coverage of the decline of once legendary markets like Jayanagar, Russell and Malleswaram which still dot the city but only as poor remnants of what they once were. “Our markets were wonderful places with beautiful buildings. Now, they have been reduced to garbage dumps. In developed countries, markets are tourists attractions but we have let them be controlled by the mafia and are allowing valuable property in prime locations to be rented out for paltry sums. The BBMP (Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation) should instead treat the markets as valuable real estate and as the city’s pride,” says ABIDe member, R.K Misra. ABIDe is an initiative to address the urban chaos of Bengaluru.

KR market Bangalore

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Aakash is a hindi word meaning “sky or “ether”. It is a word that will become better known. Now, it is the brand name for an Android-based tablet computer produced by the British company Datawind and manufactured by the India based company Quad.

Kalra, who heads a team at the Rajasthan Indian Institute of Technology sums up the potential. “Inside ten years we expect that everyone will have one. There will be children learning, farmers checking prices, pregnant women getting medical assistance – all through the Aakash.”

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As the developed world stagnates and shows little sign of rapid recovery, it is clear that an increasing number of Multi National Corporations will be looking harder at emerging and developing markets for the growth that shareholders look for. So, what does the future hold for big brands in this brave new world?

How do we deliver over there?

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This Blog has focussed the need to move beyond mainstream logistics and supply chain thinking relevant to the developed world and respond to a quite different context in emerging, developing and devastated markets – Transformational Logistics. Increasingly, we see this agenda as having wider scope; that a Transformational agenda is highly relevant to other spheres where local context needs to be respected with a triple bottom line of planet and people as well as profits to be considered.

Vertical means developed world architecture

A while back, I went to the Whitechapel Gallery in London and saw Twins, a piece by the Indian photographer Rashid Rana. From a distance, the two prints (171 x 228 cm) are streaked with light. Close up, each canvas is made up of tiny photographs of dwellings characteristic of the Majority World. It reminds me of the view from a plane on a landing approach anywhere from Jakarta to Soweto; Luanda to Rio; Dharavi in Mumbai and the adjacent Financial District. (more…)

On Friday 10th June at the Hull & East Riding Business Week Event at Bridlington Spa, Terry Hill, the Arup CEO quoted Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary: “Capitalism’s natural end state is when companies become monopolies”. Globalisation has driven huge consolidation in all sectors from aviation to retail; pet food to pesticides; cars to ports such that anything from 30 to 85% of market share is in the hands of the top ten companies. The danger here is that these companies are owned by shareholders who may not have the long term interests of the company at heart and have little interest in the local roots of the business or, even the staff themselves. Dog-eat-dog capitalism takes no prisoners but claims that this is the only way to do business are being challenged more than ever.    (more…)

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