Nanovation

Innovation that changes the world

Dain Dunston

3. Nanovation Starts a Revolution

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, someone, somewhere right now is building a product, process or business model designed to kick your butt. Someone is going to redefine what it takes to succeed in your business. Someone is going to start the revolution that will change your world.

Why can’t it be you?

If it’s you, then you have a significant opportunity to widen the gap of competitive advantage. If it’s not you, then you better get comfortable playing by the rules created by one of your competitors. If you are an incumbent, the shelf life of your solutions keeps getting shorter and shorter. If you are a new entrant, the gap between what you can imagine and what you can do keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Ask yourself, in recent years, which changed our world more profoundly: Google or IBM? With all respect to IBM—a great company—their impact in the last decade has been miniscule to that of start-ups like Google, Facebook or YouTube. They’ve created a revolution that’s dramatically changing the world we live in.

Now look at your own industry. Who did the best job of leveraging change in your industry over the last ten years, the incumbents or the new kids? We are willing to bet that in most cases it was the new kids. Now consider the winners in your industry and ask, “Did they succeed because they were that much better operationally or because they changed the rules of the game?” The answer is probably both, but we suspect that the majority of those in the winner’s circle got there by radically shaking it up.
When Southwest Airlines got into the business 37 years ago its founders knew that they were not just competing with other airlines, they were competing with ground transportation as well. So, their fares (sometimes as low as $10) weren’t just lower, they were dramatically lower; often a third of what the competition was charging.

Getting your family off a scooter and into a safe, comfortable automobile definitely makes life dramatically better. Doing it for the price of a scooter, with similar gas mileage and lower emissions makes it even better. For a vast segment of the Indian population, the Nano opens the door to practical all-weather travel in ways that will make a huge difference in their lives.

The Nano is not only revolutionary in design and manufacturing; it is also creating a social revolution. Just as Southwest Airlines democratized the skies and Google democratized information and the way the world learns, the Nano will democratize the roads and make it affordable for as many as 14 million more Indians to have safe, dignified mobility. And, mobility creates opportunity.

In the United States, Southwest Airlines’ message is clear as a bell: “You are now free to move about the country.” The Nano does the same for the people of India.

Nano has also made its way into the everyday lingo (think FedEx, Google, Xerox, Kleenex, Band-Aid, Skype, and Twitter) of Indians. The Indian radio stations created a “Nano Day,” television stations leave their scheduled programming for a “Nano Break,” and newspapers print brief news snippets called “Nano News.” All of these activities came about through the media’s own initiatives and added value to Tata Motors—at no cost.

That’s revolutionary.