Category Archives: South Asia

India: Dragging the reluctant elephant into a digital, cashless future

My recent immersion in Delhi a mere four months after demonetization (or, notebandi as it’s locally known) was a bit of a letdown. Oh sure, there were numerous, visible changes in the 2 years since my last trip – mostly very clear indicators of India’s socio-economic development – but none of the sense of chaos […]

Also posted in Alternative currency, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Cashless transactions, Culture, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, India, Innovation Planning, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Strategy, Systems, Technology, urban, User research | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to reach consensus on the #informaleconomy debate

As yesterday’s post showed, the unforeseen outcome of India’s demonetization initiative on the rural cash economy arose due to the lack of disaggregation of all that tends to get lumped together under the umbrella label “informal”. Segmentation would lead to more impactful design of policy and programmes. WIEGO has an excellent review of the academic […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, East African Community, Economy, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unforeseen outcomes of India’s demonetization shine light on the value of our design philosophy

Latest news on India’s demonetization informs us how the rural economy is bearing the brunt of this initiative. The action was intended to target wealthy tax evaders and end India’s “shadow economy”, but it has also exposed the dependency of poor farmers and small businesses on informal credit systems in a country where half the […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, Banking, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frameworks, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Rural Economy, Strategy, Systems, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Africa’s Middle Class: Development economics and marketing demographics conflating the holy grail

The most developed nation on the African continent, south of the Sahara desert, is considered to be South Africa with its financial and transportation infrastructure and systems, a legacy from history. In the first decade of the 21st century, the black middle class – known as Black Diamonds in marketer jargon – came into prominence […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Emerging Markets, global, Income, Marketing, Perspective, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Research, South Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Research Question: Why is the informal retail sector so persistent and resilient?

Retailing in India is currently estimated to be a USD 200 billion industry, of which organised retailing makes up 3% or USD 6.4 billion. By 2010, organized retail is projected to reach USD 23 billion and in terms of market share it is expected to rise by 20 to 25%. (Sinha et all, 2007) These […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Assumption filter, Business, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Economy, Emerging Markets, Ghana, global, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Marketing, Perspective, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, Risk, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, User research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Indian Strategy for the African Consumer Market

One of the most high-profile events Kenya has hosted since independence begins this week when heads of state from across Africa and the Prime Minister of Japan Mr Shinzo Abe jet in for the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD). It will be the first time that Ticad has been held outside Japan and […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Business, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, Emerging Markets, India, Informal & Flexible, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, Risk, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons for toilet builders from the history of India’s cookstove development efforts

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar has written a superb critical analysis looking back at the history of India’s development efforts to provide viable, feasible, and desirable solutions to the myriad unmet needs of the common man. Using cookstoves as her narrative theme, she explores the challenges of base of the pyramid product development and marketing, and draws lessons […]

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Breaking the caste barrier: Aspirations, upward mobility and the brass ring

We don’t talk about this much. India’s caste system is an intangible barrier to upward mobility. We assume the ‘untouchables’ are a one lumpen mass of poor. Is the post liberalization economic growth finally offering opportunities for change? “Post-liberalization, the country witnessed a transition from the caste-based occupations and services to modern businesses. Looking at […]

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Key Insights on the Reality of Rural India: Socio-Economic & Caste Census data

Recently, India released a selection of data from the 2011 Census of India – their focus was rural India’s socio-economic reality, primarily aimed at policymakers and programme designers. This was the first time the Government of the Republic of India has collected information on caste. The last such census was back in 1931, by the […]

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New Delhi Notes 2015

I was in New Delhi for just over a week at the beginning of June, visiting after a period of 3 years, and so many things caught my attention that I thought I’d do a round up of my observations, just like I did 10 years ago. Systems implemented and working. The impact may not […]

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