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Links 1 through 10 of 54 by Dina Mehta tagged india

QUOTE: "For more than two decades, Gupta has scoured rural India for its hidden innovations, motivated by the belief that the most powerful ideas for fighting poverty and hardship won't come from corporate research labs, but from ordinary people struggling to survive.

Gupta, 59, and his aides have uncovered more than 25,000 inventions, from the bicycle-mounted crop sprayer to the electric paintbrush that never needs to be dipped in a paint can.

Many of the cheap, simple ideas he spreads for free from one poor village to another with the inventor's blessing. Some he is working to bring to market, ensuring the innovator gets the credit and the profit that will spur others to create as well. Many ideas are simply documented in his database waiting for some investor to spot their potential. He routinely dispenses tiny grants, either from a government fund or his own web of organizations, to help poor innovators finish their projects."

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QUOTE: "Facebook farmers played a crucial role in stopping the auction and solving the problem," says Raghunath Ramachandra Patil, president, Shetkari Sangathana, a political party with farmer members. The small protest at Sangli may not be a patch on the social media-led 'Arab Spring', but it does point to the growing importance of social networking websites in the Indian countryside. From sharing critical information in real time to eliminating middlemen to opening up marketing opportunities for companies looking to tap rural consumers, social media is becoming a powerful tool of communication across India's 600,000 villages. Technology experts say the community has always been central to rural India and therefore its acceptance of social media tools is not surprising. "Community concept has always been prevalent in villages," says Asheesh Raina, analyst at technology research firm Gartner India." UNQUOTE

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EXPECTATIONS for India’s economic growth rate have been sliding inexorably. In the early spring there was still heady talk about 9-10% being the new natural rate of expansion, a trajectory which if maintained would make the country an economic superpower in a couple of decades. Now things look very different. The latest GDP growth figure slipped to 6.9% and industrial production numbers just released, on December 12th, showed a decline of 5.1% compared with the previous period, a miserable state of affairs. The slump looks broadly based, from mining to capital goods, and in severity compares with that experienced at the height of the financial crisis, in February 2009, when a drop of 7.2% took place. Bombast is turning to panic.

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CLIP: "The third bird was a revelation for us when we went to the farmers for feedback during our first season. The higher price and the lower costs were only second and third benefits on the farmers list. To our surprise, the first was the restoration of their pride through dignity of choice! Many farmers said that they were feeling humiliated about the system of "auctioning" their produce at mandis, as they felt helpless about not being able to set their own price for their months of toil & risk. Nilaami of someone's property was a disgrace in villages, as this happened only to the insolvent... But, in farm produce they had no choice. It occurred to us that the traditional functional orientation of the industry (a strictly price based transaction), suddenly got transformed into an emotional orientation. This is one of the six conventional boundaries of competition described in the book, when broken through would lay a new path to Blue Ocean Strategy....."

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CLIPs: "PATH “road tests” household water treatment products in India
One of the primary challenges in developing a household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) product for households earning between $1 and $5 a day is a lack of understanding of how, when, why, and by whom such products might be used—or not used—in real life. Even in India, where HWTS products have achieved some market penetration among lower-income households, few developers have had an opportunity to watch households interact with the product, use it, clean it, repair it, and, in some cases, abandon it—and even fewer know how or why. ..... To develop successful household water treatment products for low-income settings, designers must understand how families use them. These six video clips (shown in a continuous loop) highlight some of what we learned from 20 households' experiences."

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CLIP: "But in exactly six minutes this kid handed my blackberry back. He had changed the part and cleaned and serviced the the whole phone. Taken it apart, and put it together. As I turned the phone on there was a horrific 2 minutes where the phone would not come on. I looked at him with such hostility that he stepped back. ‘you have more than thousand phone numbers ?” ‘yes’. ‘backed up ?’‘no’‘Must back up. I do it for you. Never open phone before backing up’‘You tell me that now ?’ But then the phone came on and my data was still there. Everyone watching laughed and clapped. This was becoming a show. A six minute show. I asked him how much.‘ 500 rupees’ He ventured uncertainly . People around watched in glee expecting a negotiation. ................‘do you have an Iphone ? Even the new ‘4′ one ?‘no, why”‘I break the code for you and load any ‘app’ or film you want. I give you 10 film on your memory stick on this one, and change every week for small fee’

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CLIP: "Earthen pots and other types of jugaad may make good documentary film subjects, but we should remember that these are typically low productivity solutions with a below-par user experience. They should not be romanticised. India cannot become a world-beating economic force by under-investing in fundamental scientific research and celebrating the stop-gap survival mechanisms as path-breaking innovation. .... The state should commit itself to turning India into a magnet for top scientific talent from around the world, increasing investment in fundamental science and engineering and creating infrastructure ....... When such an environment is created, storytellers will find inspiration from life to imagine and create more on the lines of the recent Hollywood blockbuster series on high-technology superhero Iron Man, showcasing cutting-edge technology that can inspire real innovators."

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Rashmi Bansal shares why she will never go back to a Nokia phone, and gives Nokia some good advice!! CLIPs: "Nokia is still a market leader in the lower end handsets. But there too companies like Micromax are coming in aggressively with high end features at very competitive rates." It's time for Nokia to go back into the laboratory and come up with something that make you want to chuck what you have and buy a new one. Imagine a stunningly good-looking girl with an IQ of 180 - but in the form of a phone." "... Just a few crazy ideas. I am sure there are designers and engineers out there can come up with much better. Because product lifecycles are getting shorter and shorter. If you're not dreaming 'what next', 'what more', your brand is one step closer to the grave. Nokia still enjoys tremendous goodwill, and marketshare. But it needs some stardust to sprinkle on consumers. To work its magic spell, to mesmerise us into saying "lena to Nokia hi hai, question is 'which model'!"

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CLIPS: "Even though Internet penetration in India is nothing much to talk about, mobile web has taken off and as per latest report by Admob, web traffic from mobile phones has touched the 1.2 Billion mark in March 2010 – propelling India to the second highest traffic worldwide." and "In total, there were 828, 558, 969 requests from India in the month of Feb, 2010 (up by 5.9% since last month)
iPhone contribution has gone up to 5%.
As far as device manufacturers are concerned, its a Nokia world.
Nokia phones constitute 59% of Mobile web, followed by Sony (10%), Samsung (9%), Apple (1%) and other phones (21%)
In terms of Operating Systems, Symbian phone contributes 91% of the mobile web, followed by iPhone OS (5%) and Windows mobile and other OSes.
Top smartphones include N70, N83, N73, 6300 and N72 [Download the Admob report]."

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Super series of posts from on his ongoing attempt to note the books fellow travellers read in Mumbai local trains on their way to work and back. It covers his observations of people's faces, their interest, method of reading in really crowded trains, and both posts are replete with photographic observations. Including people who hide their books inside open newspapers. Ethnography in motion :)

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