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Is Consumer India on the Brink of a Lifestyle Revolution?

Discover the intricate world of consumer India in Lilliput Land by Rama Bijapurkar. Explore the aspirations and attitudes towards credit that shape consumer India’s behavior and learn through the many valuable insights for businesses navigating this dynamic market amidst India’s digital revolution.

Let the Mega Consumption story begin!



Lilliput Land
Lilliput Land || Rama Bijapurkar


A lot has been written about this in media stories and books, and ‘the changing Indian consumer’ is a favourite conference topic. However, given the structure story of the many Indias, all these anecdotes and observations of how different parts of the elephant behave need to be distilled into a holistic view of the nature of the beast. This chapter looks at key shapers of behaviour—aspiration, dignity, Indian identity, brand orientation, the phenomenon of monster consumers, how to understand and navigate heterogeneity of the market for strategy development, and how to read change in the confusing way in which Consumer India changes. Shapers of Consumer India’s Consumption Behaviour A macro-consumer view of the people of India Consumer India, as the previous chapter on structure has demonstrated, is a fragmented and complex hydra-headed monster, based on just its economy, demographics and living conditions. Add to that a layer of different social and cultural factors aff ecting diff erent parts of Consumer India (including community, region, politics and language), and diff erent levels of exposure to diff erent worlds outside, it gets even more complex. Requests asking me to speak on the topic of ‘Indian Consumer Behaviour’ or ‘Changing Consumer Behaviour in India’ terrify me. How does one capture the enormity of behaviour variations in Consumer India? No matter what one could say, the opposite would also be true in some audience members’ recent experience! Therefore, for reasons of both prudence and competence, this chapter will not attempt the near-impossible task of chronicling diff erent kinds of consumer behaviour and diff erent patterns of consumption.


The focus of this chapter will instead be on understanding the lives, mind spaces and attitudes that shape the behaviour of the people who comprise Consumer India. This is useful because consumption and brands do not live in the narrow confines of a market space but exist as a part of the larger canvas of  people’s lives. Serving a consumer base without understanding what makes it tick does not make for winning businesses, sound market strategies or creating brands that deeply resonate with consumers.


This chapter has three sections:
1. Shapers of Consumer India’s consumption behaviour: A few important themes that are common and relevant to all income groups.
2. Structure and drivers of heterogeneity in Consumer India and how to think about consumer segmentation.
3. How India changes and reading change in Consumer India.


As everywhere in this book, this chapter will also examine many of the commonly held hypotheses and theories about Consumer India to test their validity and change, nuance or caveat them as the case may require.


Section I:

Shapers of Consumer India’s Consumption Behaviour This section identifies and explores a few important themes that are common across all of Consumer India and shape the consumption behaviour of all income groups. A Tectonic Shift from Acceptance to Aspiration, Facilitated by Credit.


Aspirational India is a tectonic shift from the pre-liberalization days when we would often hear consumers of lower-income groups tell us in focus groups, ‘This is not for me, this is for the badey log (big people).’ Now, there is a strong statement of, ‘I want to have something like that, be it products or experiences.’ A car is obviously not affordable, but a bike and a taxi for special family outings is. Now, having what celebrities have has become easy with social media. Copies of actress Alia Bhatt’s mehendi pattern and cheap knock-offs of her wedding dress are available. Influencers and beauticians of every social class tell you how to use make-up like celebrities do and style yourself at a price point that you can afford. As ad man Santosh Desai puts it, the big shift is that ‘life is not a condition to be endured but a product to be experienced’. Aspiration-led living is the opposite of the way it used to be. The attitude and mindset shift is from ‘this is what I have and how do I manage best within it’ to ‘this is what I want, so how do I manage to get it’. We see this resulting in choices which can best be described as ‘stretch for more, do not settle for less’. Borrow and buy the higher category car or two-wheeler or buy a second-hand one rather than settle for the easily affordable small car, even if it means waiting a bit, buying a pre-owned vehicle or taking a loan.


Credit or borrowing for consumption once considered a very dangerous thing, is now acceptable and ‘normal’ to Consumer India. Amazon and consumer durables stores and travel sites helpfully ask you, at the time of checking out, if you want to pay by EMI, that is, equated monthly instalments of credit. Credit is also morally purified. Its cultural label has changed from indebtedness, which can lead to ruin, to being the working capital for life and the helping hand that everybody needs to reach their goals. Financial services companies have been exploiting this attitude shift leading to the regulators and the courts coming down hard and framing laws to curb irresponsible lending that leads to imprudent borrowing, and strong-arm tactics for recovery that lead to customer stress and even suicides. An example of this is what happened to the microfinance industry in 2010 leading to a new law in 2011 that banned MFIs from approaching the doorstep of their customers, lengthened the loan collection cycles and told lenders that they had to get government approval to give a second loan to the same lender. The Reserve Bank of India, India’s banking regulator has issued a charter of customer rights for banks and non-banking financial services companies (NBFC) that includes the ‘right to suitability’, where ‘only products and services that are appropriate to the understanding and financial conditions of the customers may be offered to them.’ It is a caveat venditor (let the seller beware) as far as enforcing this right is concerned.


Get your copy of Lilliput Land by Rama Bijapurkar wherever books are sold.

Know the Authors: Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah

Professional economists and former civil servants, Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah have spent twenty years of their lives thinking about and attempting to work on these questions:

Why did the reforms introduced from 1977 onwards deliver success during 1991–2011, but falter thereafter?

Where did Indians falter?

How can this course be changed?

How can Indians get rich before they grow old?

And one question above all else: What do Indians need to do to make their tryst with destiny?

The result of their attempt is In Service of the Republic, a meticulously researched work that stands at the intersection of economics, political philosophy and public administration.

Read on to get to know these economists and authors better!

Vijay Kelkar

Dr. Vijay Kelkar is one of India’s most eminent economists and technocrats, and a renowned public policy thought-leader.

He served the Government of India in senior positions: as petroleum secretary, finance secretary and chairman of the Thirteenth Finance Commission of India. He also served as director of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and as executive director of the International Monetary Fund.

In 2011, the President of India conferred the Padma Vibhushan upon him, the second-highest civilian award for distinguished and exceptional service to the Nation.

Dr. Kelkar is also Chairperson for a committee constituted by the Government of India on Revisiting and Revitalizing the PPP model of Infrastructure Development; and Chairman for a committee constituted by the Government of India to prepare a roadmap for enhancing the domestic production of oil and gas, with sustainable reduction in import dependency by 2030. (Source: NIPFP)

He holds a BS from the University of Pune, MS from the University of Minnesota and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad; Center for Economic Development and Administration, Kathmandu; South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University; and University of California, Berkeley. (Source: IIHS)

Ajay Shah

Ajay Shah has worked at the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research and the Ministry of Finance. He is currently, a professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

His research interests include policy issues on Indian economic growth, open economy macroeconomics, public finance, financial economics and pensions. In the past decade, he was extensively involved in the policy process in the reforms of the equity market and the New Pension System. (Source: NIPFP)

He has a BTech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT, Bombay, and a PhD in economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Ajay thinks that his brain has two parts that he nurtures. The part that lives in Mathematics and Computer Science makes him a child of the world of science and reason. The other wing lives in the world of politics and thinks of the state, public policy, and ways to fix the world. (Source: YourStory)

Put together, these two have spent sixty years in the field and hope that this book will trigger many crucial and relevant conversations.

Master these Five Rules of Risk and Transform your Life!

Allison Schrager is an economist and award-winning journalist who has spent her career examining how people manage risk in their lives and careers. Stepping away from the stock market and other financial institutions, Schrager shares the real life (an often unusual) places she learned about risk;

Whether we realize it or not, we all take risks large and small every day. What most of us don’t know is how to measure those risks and maximize the chances of getting what we want out of life.

In An Economist Walks into a Brothel, Schrager equips readers with five principles for dealing with risk, principles used by some of the world’s most interesting risk takers.

Here are five essential rules from the book, to follow when undertaking any sort of major risk!

Rule 1- No Risk No Reward


‘Risking loss is the price we pay for the chances of getting more. But there are ways to maximize your chance of success. The biggest mistake people make when they take a risk is not having a well-defined goal. It may seem counterintuitive but the best way to define a risky reward is to start by defining the opposite of risk, whatever is risk free.’


Incredible Risk Taker

Kat Cole, COO of Focus Brands who own Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s made a name for herself by popularising the Minibon and driving up sales exponentially. As sales of the full-sized cinnamon roll dropped owing to increasingly health-conscious consumers, the executive team became too focused on launching an-artificially sweetened option that just wasn’t yummy enough! Kat succeeded as she identified the goal clearly— ‘increase sales in a changing market’ rather than fixate on a low-calorie option and hit upon the lowest-risk option by expanding the small-size roll in all franchises!

Rule 2- I am irrational and I know it


‘We want to think we are rational beings. And for the most part we are. But perhaps the most obvious place to witness our irrationality at work is when we make a risky decision. Our feelings about loss vs, gains can lead us to make decisions economists think are irrational. By knowing yourself, how to gauge risk, and your natural response to potentially losing , you can make better risky decisions.’

Incredible Risk Taker

Professional poker champion, Phil Hellmuth has ADHD and is highly emotional, generally not helpful qualities for a poker player. However he is considered one of the world’s best players, has won a record number of World Series of Poker gold bracelets and is worth $20 million. Hellmuth realized early on he had to overcome his own behavioural quirks, ‘I guess what it all meant was that I needed to have the discipline of a monk if I was to succeed in poker. I need to exercise patience relentlessly and to allow no negative emotions to affect my mood.’

Rule 3-Get the biggest bang for your risk buck


‘Risk is the price we pay to get more, and just like anything else in life, there is no need to pay more for something than you have to. Financial economists consider unnecessary risk inefficient. They argue you can achieve more efficiency through diversification. The result is the same, or greater, reward for less risk—a bargain indeed in risk terms.’

Incredible Risk Taker

Harry Markowitz, an economics doctoral student set off a revolution in financial thinking, shifting the focus from return to risk in the financial market. He discovered that people often end up taking unnecessary risk when we try to pick only winners.. Markowitz argued that diversification—owning lots of stocks of different risk characteristics that offset each other was how investors could create efficient portfolios.

Rule 4-Be the master of your domain


‘Risk management is how we can stack the odds in our favour. We can do this in two different ways-hedging and insurance. When we hedge we give up some of our potential gains in exchange for reducing the chance of loss; in statistical terms it cuts off the upper and lower tails of risk. With insurance, we pay someone else a fixed amount to take on our downside and we still keep the upside.’

Incredible Risk Taker

David Bowie is both a brilliant musician and a risk tactician.  In his 50s, advised by David Pullman he made a deal with EMI to re-release his catalog, between 1969 and 1990 valued at $100 million, and was guaranteed more than 24 per cent of the royalties on wholesale sales in the US.

They then securitized these royalties through the Bowie Bond! Prudential paid $55 million for 7.9 per cent payment on their principal for fifteen years. These interest payments were financed from the income generated by Bowie’s pre-1990 albums. This was a hedge because Bowie took $55 million to forgo his payments for fifteen years, but successfully managed his risk in a changing music industry.

Rule 5-Uncertainty Happens


‘We might make calculated choices based on data based probability measures, it’s the best we can do 90 percent of the time. But how do we deal with the other 10 other cent or the Knightian uncertainty, which is the risk we can’t predict. But it is possible to plan for the unplannable. It often comes down to managing the risk you can imagine and retaining just the right amount of flexibility for the unexpected.’

Incredible Risk Taker

Captain H.R. Mc Master, who led the Eagle Troop in the decisive battle of 73 Easting in the 1991 Gulf War says that centralizing command shows an overconfidence in certainty. Preparing for uncertainty needs extensive training and practice so that soldiers have the confidence to make decisions on the fly and think creatively in stressful situations.  This kind of flexibility may come at a cost but is the most effective way of dealing with uncertainty.

Read An Economist Walks Into a Brothel to understand the principle of risk-taking in everyday life!

5 Things You Need to Know About GST’s Impact on the Common Man

On 1 July 2017, Goods and Services Tax (GST) became a reality. The government hailed it as the biggest tax reform of independent India which would herald a new freedom for the nation and unify it with ‘One Nation One Tax’. Some of the claims made by the government were that GST would bring about ease of doing business; increase tax collection; lower inflation; increase GDP growth by 1-2 per cent; and check the black economy.  More than a year later, we have more questions than answers.
Why did the economy slow down? Is the government likely to collect more taxes? Why have prices continued to rise? Why has Malaysia withdrawn GST?

It turns out that problems with GST are both transitional and structural. To correct for these there have been a few hundred notifications and orders from the government which have added to the confusion.
In Ground Scorching Tax, well-known economist and India’s leading expert on the black economy, Arun Kumar systematically and lucidly explains the reality behind GST, demystifying this complex tax for ordinary citizens.

Known for not pulling any punches, the author explains why GST is truly a ‘ground scorching tax’ and  a double-edged sword for the common man, why it will increase inequality across sectors and regions, why it will hurt small businesses – everything the government does not want you to know.

He also proposes an alternative which will convert this tax into a `Ground Nourishing Tax’.

Read on to learn how the common man is affected by the ‘Ground Scorching Tax’

The unorganized sector employs the vast majority of the workforce so the setback caused to this sector by the GST renders a large number of people unemployed and lowers the overall real wage rate

GST and digitization accelerate this ongoing process of marginalization of the unorganized sectors. As pointed out in the previous section, marketization marginalizes the weak in the market—it favours the large over the small businesses. While in economic terms this may seem to be ‘efficient’ with growth being fuelled by the large scale sector, it leads to growing inequality which has political and social implications. Since it is the unorganized sector that employs the vast majority of the work force, any setback to this sector leads to growing under employment and crisis in the lives of these people. With the growth of the organized sector, while wage rate may rise, employment available declines since the large and medium sectors are far more automated than the small sectors. Thus, the overall wage received by workers would fall. The purchasing power of those employed in the unorganized sectors and of workers as a whole would decline. (p. 186)


Small businesses are financially affected by not being able to receive or offer Input Tax Credit.

The concern for the small suppliers led to their being exempted from registration under GST. So, suppliers with turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh have been exempted. But they will not be able to get input credit (ITC) and if they sell to any other business they cannot offer ITC. A very big disadvantage indeed. Similarly, those with a turnover between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore will fall under the Composition Scheme and will neither get ITC nor be able to offer ITC. They would also not be able to make inter-state sales. Further, the tax that they should have paid under GST but did not pay since they are exempt will have to be paid by the business purchasing from them. This is the reverse charge mechanism (RCM). Thus, the purchasers’ cost would go up. (Pp. 103-4)

(Subsequently, due to changes announced, units with turnover up to Rs.40 lakh are exempt from registration and the limit for Composition Scheme has been raised to Rs.1.5 crore)


Some of the GST rates are higher than the rate they were paying under the earlier system which has increased prices and expenses for the common man

The GST rate on goods and services have been fixed close to the rate they were already paying under the old regime. So, if some good was being taxed at the rate of say, 15 per cent then it was moved largely to 18 per cent under GST. Most services were at the rate of 15 per cent and that has increased to 18 per cent. This has proved to be inflationary. (p. 104)


Since indirect taxes are applied on goods and services consumed, they affect all sections of society unlike direct taxes which are collected from those who are well off and can afford to pay it. Indirect taxes are also regressive as they typically result in the impoverished sections paying a greater proportion of their income then the well off. The overwhelming focus on GST and indirect taxes as opposed to direct taxes is antithetical to the interests of the common man.

It was argued that indirect taxes are stagflationary while direct taxes are the opposite and hence more desirable. Thus, it would have been more desirable for the nation to collect more of direct taxes than indirect taxes. In 2005, the UPA I government had also talked of the need to introduce the direct tax code (DTC) to reform direct taxes. However, little headway has been made in that direction. The emphasis has been on GST and collecting more of indirect taxes—indicating a political bias. It was also shown that indirect taxes tend to be regressive while the direct taxes can be progressive. Thus going for more collection of indirect taxes increases the regressive component of India’s tax system. It also does not put greater pressure to tackle the black economy and collect more of direct taxes. Again this benefits the elite sections of society. They can continue to earn large sums of incomes through the black economy on which they do not have to pay taxes. (p. 172)


 The local bodies have been deprived of their sources of revenue from taxation under the new regime.

As some of the important sources of revenue of local bodies (like Octroi and entertainment tax) have been absorbed in GST, they needed to be also provided with independent source of revenue. This has not happened. There is no mention of devolution to the local bodies. It is not clear whether the Centre or the states are to pass on a share of the resource. (p.190)

In Ground Scorching Tax, well-known economist Arun Kumar explains the reality behind GST.

Why Taxes? Understanding the Role of Government in an Economy – an excerpt

On 1 July 2017, Goods and Services Tax (GST) became a reality. The government hailed it as the biggest tax reform of independent India which would herald a new freedom for the nation and unify it with ‘One Nation One Tax’.

But why taxes? Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Arun Kumar’s new book, Ground Scorching Tax to help understand the role of the Government in an economy and elaborates on the kinds of taxes.

GST is an indirect tax that is levied on goods and services. It is supposed to cover the entire chain of supply from raw material to the final stage of sale. By themselves, indirect taxes result in an increase in the prices of the goods and services on which they are imposed. So, why levy such a tax? And, what is the importance of putting a tax on goods and services?

In modern day economies, governments have to perform a variety of tasks which the markets are unable to perform efficiently. As societies have become more complex, the markets have not been able to perform many of the essential tasks and the public sector has been given a larger and larger role in the economy in most
countries. A key task in a poor country like India has been promoting development to overcome poverty and deprivation.

For a majority of the poor, the market does not provide a solution in crucial areas like education, health, drinking water, food, sewage and energy. So, the government has to provide these services in addition to what the individual cannot provide like defence, foreign policy, security and functioning of money. All these activities need to be financed and taxes are a source of revenue. So, people pay for the services that the government provides. In effect, services become available collectively rather than each one creating services on their own.

Kinds of Taxes: Direct and Indirect

GST has run into a plethora of problems from day one. But, there were difficulties with the earlier forms of taxes which were replaced by GST and that is why the need was felt for introducing the new tax. So, one could ask, why not do away with indirect taxes altogether. But then resources for running the government would be short. Are there other taxes that could substitute for indirect taxes? To understand whether one should replace one kind of taxes by another or not, it is necessary to understand the nature of the different kinds of taxes.

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of taxes—direct and indirect. Both fall on the income of the citizens but there is a difference as to how they work. As the name suggests, direct taxes fall on the income, the moment an income is earned. That is why they are called direct taxes. The indirect taxes fall on incomes when the goods and services are purchased/used.

Differences between Direct and Indirect Taxes

The implication is that direct taxes cannot be postponed while the indirect taxes can be postponed by not purchasing goods and services. As soon as an income is earned a direct tax becomes due. Due to this difference which at first glance appears to be small or inconsequential, the macroeconomic impact of these two kinds of
taxes on the economy is different.1 So, one is not equivalent to the other. Thus, one cannot replace direct taxes by indirect taxes without some (adverse) macroeconomic consequences.

Why do these differences arise when the tax is paid either way by the citizen? In the case of direct taxes, cost of production is not directly affected. It is paid on the income after costs are subtracted from the revenue earned. To explain better, let us consider this in greater detail. In the process of production, economic entities (individual and firms) earn an income—it can be profit or wage and salary. Out of profit, interest, rent and dividend are paid.

Profits are calculated as revenue minus costs, that is, revenue of the firm from the sales less the cost of production. When a tax (corporation tax) is levied on this business income, it does not change the cost of production. It only affects the firm’s income in hand (called disposable income). Similarly, when a worker gets a wage or a manager the salary, an income tax on this income does not impact the production cost. The employer does not adjust the wage or salary when the income tax changes (except in rare cases).

An indirect tax like excise duty or sales tax is levied on the value of the good or the service being sold and that raises the price of the good or the service. No wonder each time an excise duty is raised, the price of the good on which it is levied, rises. This leads to inflation and a fall in demand. All else remaining the same, indirect taxes are ‘stagflationary’, that is output stagnates while prices rise. No wonder, when the government wishes to stimulate the demand for a good, it cuts excise duty or sales tax on that item. During the global financial crisis starting in 2007, the Government of India cut excise duties.

In brief, indirect taxes add to the cost of a good or a service while direct taxes do not do so. Thus the former impacts production while the latter does not do so.

In this book, well-known economist Arun Kumar explains the reality behind GST. Known for not pulling any punches, the author explains why GST is a double-edged sword for the common man, why it will increase inequality across sectors and regions, why it will hurt small businesses-everything the government does not want you to know.

How Pole-Vaulting Can Help Energy, Environment and Employment Problems in India

An exhilarating manifesto for the future, Leapfrogging to Pole-vaulting by Dr. R.A. Mashelkar and Mr. Ravi Pandit convinces readers to make the shift from reactive leapfrogging to proactive pole-vaulting through radical transformation.

Here are a few pole-vaulting ideas which pose as an example for further development with challenges relating to energy, environment and employment – the 3Es, in India:

One of the most important aspect of pole-vaulting is to not better a sector in order to compete but to genuinely feel the need to develop the sector for a better future. One of the example for this is the White Revolution in India which ended up providing better means of earning for small farmers and milk producers. As in the formation of AMUL where technological improvements of storing and increasing the milk production also played an important role, India needs more of such efficient initiatives in order to generate an all-round development.

With the advent of new-age technological developments today’s common man has come a long way to living a better life as compared to that experienced by the Kings and Queens of the olden days. One such example is the establishment of Uber in India. It has resulted in creating more job opportunities. Such innovative ideas not only help with significant decrease in the fuel consumption per capita but also help in reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment.

One of the main reasons for air-borne health problem in rural India is due to the domestic burning of biomass for cooking purposes in such areas. However, the introduction of electricity on these areas has essentially followed a decrease in kerosene and the polluting biomass-fuel consumption. Thus, the replacement of such methods with clean energy resources could further reduce the risk of high pollution levels in the country.

There is a dire need of alternate sources of clean energy in India. The government could be a great tool in influencing a boosting an innovative and an energy efficient idea. A good example of this is India’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA). While it was a market-driven initiative, the valuable support from the government has lead it to result in reduced carbon emissions and brought in an increased investment in the manufacturing of LED bulbs, thereby resulting in a growth in employment rates.

Dr. Mashelkar and Mr. Pandit ably show in this must-read book that, as an interplay of global issues constantly raise the bar for innovation today, there has never been a better time to use our learnings to pole-vault over those bars into a new future!


Leapfrogging To Pole-Vaulting – An Excerpt

The Cambridge Dictionary defines leapfrogging as ‘making improvements to your position by going past other people quickly or by missing out some stages’.

By definition, pole-vaulting requires you to go over a bar. In innovation, such bars are set by one’s limited aspirations or by the perceived limitations of current technologies. The core idea of ‘pole-vaulting’ as opposed to ‘leapfrogging’ is the only way forward that expresses the deeply felt need for speed, considering our keen awareness of the fact that time is running out fast.

Dr Mashelkar and Mr Pandit ably show in Leapfrogging to Pole-Vaulting: Creating the Magic of Radical yet Sustainable Transformation that-as an interplay of global issues constantly raise the bar for innovation today-there has never been a better time to use our learnings to pole-vault over those bars into a new future! An exhilarating manifesto for the future, this book convinces readers to make the shift from reactive leapfrogging to proactive pole-vaulting through radical transformation.

Here is an insightful excerpt:

In a corporate world, the pole is the supporting talent, technologies and tools. However, the question still remains: Why does one need to go from leapfrogging to pole-vaulting? A shift away from leapfrogging and approaching innovations with an attitude of a pole-vaulter will take us towards progress in the true sense of the word. A 10 per cent increase in performance is an incremental innovation.

It is easy. You are doing what everyone is doing, but only slightly better. A 100 per cent increase in performance in a short time is more difficult. It requires innovation at another level. This is, still, leapfrogging.

When this increase is 1000 per cent however, a 10x improvement, it is then that we are talking of transformational innovation, progress in its true sense. This is what we would call pole-vaulting. We need a 10x change in the demands of ourselves as a community of innovators, creators, sellers, buyers and policymakers.

It is time we stop being happy with a 20 per cent reduction in price, but instead look at twenty fold price improvement.

This is not unachievable. Such aspirations have led to unimagined cost reductions. For instance, until ten years ago an ECG machine used to cost around $10,000.*

When an innovative mind, Rahul Rastogi, applied himself, a $70 version was developed that made ¢8 tests possible. This is not all. This machine is portable and can be used in the remotest corners of the world.

Similarly, a business challenged itself to make high-speed, 4G Internet available at ¢10 per GB, with free voice calls, for a billion people, and did it—that is Jio in India. Only when we set ourselves such lofty aims are today’s successes—such as 1 billion Aadhaar registrations in India—conceivable. This book is all about pole-vaulting towards a new future, a future that is radically and not just marginally different, a future that is radically transformed and is yet sustainable. And this has to be achieved notwithstanding all the formidable obstacles, either perceived or real. We capture the essence of the pole-vaulting innovation processes, products and people, which has made the seemingly impossible, possible.

Leapfrogging to Pole-Vaulting: Creating the Magic of Radical yet Sustainable Transformation is dotted with inspiring case studies that can instil confidence in people from across the world to put this framework into practice for assured success.

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