For the past 115 years, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing has led the sale of consumer goods in India. With the onslaught of globalization and more low cost competitors tapping the Indian market, Godrej began looking for innovative ways to compete. The innovation team first tried to connect deeply with the needs of Indian people, including visiting those not using Godrej appliances in their homes. As they traveled all over India, they were shocked by how wrong their initial guess at a product—”a shrunken down version of a refrigerator,” Navroze Gordrej recalled to Forbes—had been.
They observed that 80 percent of Indian households lack refrigeration and many Indians simply can’t afford appliances. People needed an affordable way to keep milk, vegetables and leftovers cool for a day or two—both at home or away. This need is urgent in a country where so much food is lost to spoilage.
Godrej developed prototypes for feedback at community “co-creation” events. They established a clever partnership with the postal service–highly respected and integral to Indian communities–that established distribution chain for the product. From these and other efforts came the ChotuKool, or “little cool” in Hindi. A disruptive innovation for the base of the economic pyramid.
Forbes contributors Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer go into detail about the design process in How Godrej Became An Innovation Star. They interview IIT Institute of Design alumnus Navroze, director of special projects at Godrej to help tell the story of the Edison award-winning ChotuKool.