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Reverse Innovation: Vijay Govindarajan’s New Book

2nd May 2012

Vijay Govindarajan is Professor of International Business at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire. He is a keynote speaker and an expert on strategy and innovation, and has been ranked no. 3 on the Thinkers 50 list of the world’s most influential business thinkers.

His new book, Reverse Innovation, explores the importance of businesses developing in emerging markets first. He summarises the main points the book makes on his website.
“If you haven’t asked yourself or your team this question, you will soon.

“When it comes to innovation, the gap between the developed world and the developing world is closing. Understanding this fact—and knowing how to “reverse innovate” to stay in front of global demand—is critical for any business with growth in its future.

“Enter Reverse Innovation, an important book that helps leaders and senior managers understand what it means to develop in emerging markets first, instead of scaling down rich world products, to unlock a world of business opportunity. Written by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Reverse Innovation provides a needed next step for organizations looking to derive long-term value from emerging markets.

The book highlights strategies from some of the world’s leading companies (General Electric, Deere & Company, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo) that emphasize innovations that “flow uphill”—that is, successes that were adopted in the developing world first.

“In the past, reverse innovations have been the rare exception to the rule, but the phenomenon is becoming ever more common, and the implications for multinationals are profound. In particular, thanks to the rise of reverse innovation:

1.    You must innovate, not simply export, if you want to capture the mammoth growth opportunities in the developing world.

2.    The stakes in emerging economies are global, not local. Passing up an opportunity in the developing world today may invite formidable new competition in your home markets tomorrow.

3.    Legacy multinationals must rethink their dominant organizational logic if they are to win in an era of reverse innovation.

“There is no one industry that needs to reverse innovate; instead, all industries must have interest in the needs and opportunities in the developing world in order to thrive in tomorrow’s global marketplace.

“The new reality is that the future is far from home. Whether you are a CEO, financier, strategist, marketer, scientist, engineer, national policymaker, or even a student forming a career aspiration, reverse innovation is a phenomenon you need to understand. This book will help get you there.”

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