Grassroots innovation and new products

If there is genuine innovation – a product aimed at a particular segment for an unmet need – and nobody heard about it, does that mean it doesn’t exist?

I stumbled across this product today, it is a pad to be attached to the underarm seam of a choli, as protection against stains.


It exemplifies, by it’s very existence, the concepts of uncovering a genuine unmet need in a particular cultural market, then coming up with an answer that better solves the problem than any existing solution in the market.

Let’s put aside the quality of the press release and product name for a moment, as this is a homegrown effort without the marketing werewithal of the cosmetics or consumer products giants.

The problem: Many items of Indian clothing are tightly fitted to the upper body. Many of these are made from delicate fabrics like chiffon, silk or satin, often unwashable due to embroidery, beading or appliques. Experience demonstrates that the weather does not need to be particularly hot for the staining to occur, as the fitting also contributes to the problem. Neither anti-perspirants nor deodorants help against this problem. The combination of climate, clothing style and environment are more than a match for anything short of surgery.

Standard solutions: Deodorants and anti perspirants were only launched in the Indian mass market in the past decade. Prior to that, those that were aware of the need for this product would purchase it from smugglers at exhorbitant prices.

This particular solution: Disposable, self adhesive pad that protects fragile clothing, is affordable and impregnated with aloe.

Why am I so impressed?

Because this is the type of innovation I see possible for India’s emerging market when I pontificate about transnationals needing to develop custom products for a particular region and it’s specific attributes. This, to me, is the equivalent of the Swiffer. Finding a niche to be filled and developing a custom product. This is a real solution to a real need.

And who says it cannot be marketed across the world?

This entry was posted in Business, Design, India/China/Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Grassroots innovation and new products

  1. richa says:

    Well said! Wish someone entrepreneurs would think of gyms in airport waiting areas and railway stations too.

  2. Sonya says:

    Warning: comments from the dark side…
    I would say this is not innovation. A great idea. But not innovation.
    In my opinion, innovation that does not make it to market to improve people’s lives isn’t innovation. To be an innovation there must be implementation.
    Which is why innovation requires the combination of creative and business. A good idea such as this or the millions of other good ideas out there that do not get implemented do not change the world with their presence. At best, they are concept cars on the road to innovation.

  3. niti bhan says:

    It has made it to market. A local market.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s