CHILD may have hundreds of friends on Face-
book and may be constantly connected to sev-
eral of them on the phone, but as messaging
takes over the lives of young people their ability to
connect decreases. They find it difficult to strike up
a conversation and prefer to bury themselves in a
virtual world. Is technology really isolating our chil-
dren and getting in the way of their social skills?
Dr Sanveen Kang-Sadhnani, principal clinical
psychologist and centre manager at Thomson Paedi-
atric Centre, agrees that in recent times children are
relying more on technological devices. “These de-
vices permit them an opportunity to socialise and
seek various forms of entertainment almost immedi-
ately. However, it is in playing with peers, without
adult monitoring, and limited technology that chil-
dren develop social skills and learn how to solve so-
cial problems,” says Dr Sanveen, who sees more
and more parents concerned about their children’s
reliance on technology.
CONTINUED ON PAGE
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delivered to your doorstep. Call
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MCI (P) 017/11/2015
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MARCH 25, 2016
T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
Available at all major pharmacies and medical halls
THE FUTURE IS NOW,
SAYS TOP THINKER
PAGES 4 & 5
Malaria detection van
PEOPLE in Mangaluru can get
tested and treated for malaria for
free in a mobile malaria detection
van, which was launched on a pilot
basis by the department of health
and family welfare. Those who are
found to have malaria will be
given the entire course of
medicine. If the pilot project
succeeds, more vans will be hired
to provide the free service. It was
launched in Mangaluru as it
recorded the highest number of
cases in the country.
Karnataka cancels exam
after paper leak
KARNATAKA’S higher education
department cancelled the
chemistry exam on March 21 as its
exam paper was leaked in some
cities and towns. About 1.74 lakh
students took the exam though a
majority of them were unaware
that their exam paper in English
and Kannada was leaked at some
centres and got circulated to other
centres by noon. A preliminary
inquiry revealed that it was leaked
near an exam centre in a women's
college at Ballari, about 330km
from Bengaluru, and at a state-run
college at Malur in Kolar district.
Eco-tourism for wildlife
sanctuary in Pune
THE forest department in Pune will
start eco-tourism at the
Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary at
the Supe village in Baramati. It has
received a budget allocation of
Rs34.61 lakhs to kick-start its plans
for the first year. While India’s
eco-tourism is largely focused on
tigers, the forest department
wants to promote the Indian
gazelle or chinkara through the
programme. Among other
facilities, it will also open a
souvenir shop so tourists can buy
Report shows 17 areas
AS MANY as 17 critical areas in
and around Kolkata have been
identified as “probable hot spots”
for polluting the city, says a study.
The report Living Dangerously
by NGO Toxics Link identified
Payarabagan, Maniktala, Topsia,
Mollar Bheri as
the hot spots.
lead acid battery
dismantling to gold smelting were
carried out in these sites.
Free travel for disabled
in all in Delhi buses
THE Delhi government has
approved free travel for people
suffering from any disability,
in air-conditioned and
non-air-conditioned buses of the
Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC)
as well as the cluster scheme.
Out of 6,055 buses (4,555 DTC
and 1,500 cluster buses), 1,275 are
air-conditioned. Till now, the
disabled were given passes only for
Rotavirus vaccine to be
launched in Odisha
ODISHA will be among the four
states where the rotavirus vaccine
will be introduced on March 26
under the central government’s
routine immunisation programme
for protecting children from
diarrhoea, said an official.
The vaccination programme will
also be launched in Andhra
Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal
Pradesh by Indian health minister
J.P. Nadda, said Odisha’s director
of family welfare Nirmala Dei.
She said an estimated 8.53 lakh
children under the age of one will
be given the vaccine annually.
More than 1.5 lakh children die in
India due to diarrhoea every year,
and rotavirus accounts for half of
these deaths, said Odisha’s
additional director of child health
Hemant Kumar Mishra.
celebrate Holi at a temple
IN A marked departure from
age-old tradition, over 1,000
widows took part in Holi
celebrations at a temple in the
holy town of Vrindavan in Uttar
Pradesh. In many parts of India,
widows are barred from
participating in Holi or any other
festival or auspicious functions.
The widows, joined by widows
from Varanasi, smeared each other
and Sulabh International founder
Bindeshwar Pathak (below) with
Holi colours at the ancient
Gopinath temple, dedicated to
A total of 1,200kg of coloured
powder and 1,500kg of flower
petals were brought in for the
special event organised by NGO
Elephant rampage in West Bengal
FIVE people were killed by wild elephants that went on a rampage
through several villages in West Bengal (above). The state’s forest
minister Benoy Krishna Burman said the victims were trampled after
they threw stones to try to scare the elephants off. He said the male
elephant was shot by a tranquilliser dart fired by forestry officials
while the other three, a female and two calves, ran away. Wildlife
experts say encounters between humans and elephants are
increasing in India’s rural areas due to the destruction of the
March 25, 2016
March 25, 2016
IS books have made it to the New York
Times’ and Wall Street Journal’s bestseller
lists. Well known for his work in the areas of
strategy and innovation, Professor Vijay Govindara-
jan was the First Professor in Residence and chief in-
novation consultant at General Electric.
He is also a Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck
at Dartmouth and a Marvin Bower Fellow at Har-
vard Business School. He has been featured on the
Thinkers 50 ranking in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
In this interview, he shares with
sights on “innovating in a poor country like India
and selling those products in a rich country like the
US”, and a strategy for leading innovation where
the company has to manage the present, while in-
venting the future.
He says: “Creating a successful future for Singa-
pore is not about what you have to do in the future.
It is about what you have to do today. For the Singa-
pore Government, too, the future is now.”
In your blog post you mentioned that your grandfa-
ther had a great influence on you. Tell us how he in-
fluenced you in your younger years and continues
to inspire you.
My grandfather literally spent millions of hours edu-
cating me. For him, I was a project! I remember eve-
ry day coming home from school, the first question
he’d ask: “VG, What did you get in Math test to-
day?” If I got 100 out of 100, I was OK. Otherwise,
he’d make me do more work! He had such tremen-
dous ambition for me, I couldn’t let him down.
I never once heard my grandfather say: “You’ve
done a great job.” For him, I can always do better
and I need to set my sights higher. I never minded
my grandfather’s discipline since I knew he was al-
ways acting in my best interest. He’d make me work
even during summer holidays on the coursework for
the next academic year. He used to jokingly say: “I
am an old man and may pass away. I want to give
you at least 12 months advantage!”
The enduring legacy of my grandfather is that I
should always set the bar higher and go for the
moon. I feel his spirit is with me even now. He
keeps me going.
You were the First Professor in Residence and chief
innovation consultant at General Electric (GE).
Share with us GE’s experience in bringing the cost
of an ECG machine (from US$3,000 to US$10,000)
all the way down to US$500 by innovating specially
for India in India. I believe they even developed a
low-cost model for the US based on the Indian mod-
Historically, multinationals innovated in a rich coun-
try like the US and sold those products in a poor
country like India. Reverse innovation is about do-
ing exactly the opposite. It is about innovating in a
poor country like India and selling those products in
a rich country like the US. When you think about it,
this is a counterintuitive idea. Why? Because it is
perfectly logical to see why a poor man would want
a rich man’s product. But it is not that logical to see
why a rich man would want a poor man’s product.
That is the essence of reverse innovation. It has the
potential to create huge growth for multinationals
as well as local companies in the future.
Take the case of GE Healthcare’s high-end ECG
machine that they innovated for the US customer. It
costs about US$20,000, weighs 500lb (226.8kg)
works on home electricity, and is a sophisticated ma-
chine that only trained doctors can operate. In In-
dia, GE does sell this high-end machine to the top 10
per cent of the economic pyramid. After all there
will be rich folks in poor countries, just like the way
there will be poor folks in rich countries.
But what about the remaining 90 per cent of Indi-
ans? There are many reasons as to why the 90 per
cent of Indians are non-consumers of the
US$20,000 ECG machine. The first and the most ob-
vious reason is affordability. Second, there are no
hospitals in rural India with sophisticated imaging
centres. That means, patients can’t go to hospitals
but the hospitals have to come to the patients. It is
difficult to take the 500lb machine door-to-door. Be-
sides there is no reliable source of electricity to oper-
ate the US$20,000 ECG machine in rural India.
Finally, trained doctors are absent in rural India.
However, the 90 per cent of non-consumers in India
also suffer from heart attacks. That is my point.
Non-consumers have exactly the same problem as
consumers. If you can do breakthrough innovation,
you can convert non-consumers into consumers.
The bonus is that those highly-affordable products
can transform the lives of consumers. That is the re-
verse innovation opportunity.
In 2008, GE Healthcare India innovated a
US$100 ECG machine – highly affordable, extreme-
ly lightweight (can be carried in a backpack), bat-
tery-operated, and extremely simple to use. GE has
converted a whole lot of non-con-
sumers into consumers with this
US$100 ECG machine. Here is the
real payoff: The US$100 ECG ma-
chine is sold in over 100 countries
including the US where it gener-
ates exciting new growth for GE.
Why? Imagine there is an acci-
dent on a highway in the US. You
can’t put a piece of equipment the
size of a US$20,000 ECG machine
inside an ambulance. But you can
put the US$100 ECG machine in
the ambulance. This is an example
of reverse innovation: The innova-
tion is first adopted in a poor coun-
try, then it transforms the lives of
people in rich countries.
Tell us about your forthcoming
book The Three Box Solution. At
first glance, the idea proposed in it – simultaneously
manage the present, let go of the past and invent the
future – sounds like Indian Trimurthi rearranged
with Vishnu in the beginning. (Vishnu, the Preserv-
er, Siva, the Destroyer, and Brahma, the Creator).
Is it applicable to societies? How should city states
like Singapore manage such competing demands?
I have been working with the Three Box Frame-
work for strategy and innovation with CEOs and
senior executives for the past 35 years. But I have
never really written a book about it. Finally I decid-
ed to write the book on three boxes. The book is al-
most like the Star Wars prequel, go back to where it
all started. Harvard Business Review Press will pub-
lish the book The Three Box Solution: A Strategy
For Leading Innovation next month. The book de-
scribes how to meet the performance requirements
of the current business – one that is still thriving –
while dramatically reinventing it (two fundamental-
ly different management challenges that are hard to
do simultaneously). You can get more details on the
book from the book website (www.3boxsolu-
tion.com) or watch the book trailer on YouTube.
For more than 35 years I have taught, written,
and consulted about the challenges of building a sus-
tainable business by establishing disciplines that en-
able a continuously revitalised future. I have
learned that the main impediment to achieving
such a future is that the demands of the present
core business often become all-consuming.
The work of the present thus drains energy, or-
ganisational attention and investment away
from the kinds of nonlinear innovation
that fuel new business opportunities.
This is a common ailment that greatly en-
dangers many, if not most, enterprises.
Over these three-plus decades, I have
studied numerous strategy failures and a
smaller number of inspiring recoveries
and outright successes. From my observa-
tions, I have distilled a framework that
shows how businesses – and their people – can take
concerted action in three time horizons at once: Exe-
cuting the present core business at
peak efficiency (Box 1); avoiding
the inhibiting traps of past success
(Box 2); and building a future, day
by day, through a process of strate-
gic innovation (Box 3).
I have written about my frame-
work in the book The Three Box
Solution. In it, I describe how fore-
sightful, disciplined businesses
have mastered each of the Three
Boxes and built a balanced portfo-
lio of solutions that answer the
challenges of ongoing self-renewal.
The fundamental principle of The
Three Box Solution is that the fu-
ture is now. The future is not about
what you have to do in the future.
The reason this is hard is that to-
day, you have two jobs to do. One
job is in Box 1 and the other is in
Box2/3 inventing the future. Yet, there are inherent
conflicts between the two. This is the central leader-
ship challenge that the book addresses.
The notion of preservation-destruction-recrea-
tion as a continuous process originates from the Hin-
du scriptures. The Three Box Solution parallels
what Hindu scriptures recognised almost 3,500
years ago – the three Hindu gods. Lord Vishnu is the
God of Preservation (Box 1, Manage the Present).
Lord Shiva is the God of Destruction (Box 2, De-
stroy the Past), and Lord Brahma is the God of Crea-
tion (Box 3, Create the Future).
It can just easily apply to the Government of Sin-
gapore as it can apply to a corporation. The prime
minister has to have projects in the year 2016 across
the Three Boxes. Creating a successful future for Sin-
gapore is not about what you have to do in the fu-
ture. It is about what you have to do today. For the
Singapore Government too, the future is now.
In fact, the Three Box Solution can be applied at
the individual level to drive personal strategy. I use
the Three Box Framework to guide my own life.
S.N. Venkat is a senior associate director at
Singapore Management University.
Rani Seethai Achi High School,
Annamalai Nagar 1965.
Annamalai University, Bachelor of
Commerce, 1969; Chartered Accountancy degree in
India – awarded the President’s Gold Medal for
obtaining the first rank nationwide, 1974;
Harvard University, MBA (with Distinction), 1976;
Harvard University, DBA, 1978.
Coxe Distinguished Professor at
Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and
Marvin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School
First Professor in Residence and
Chief Innovation Consultant at General Electric,
2008-10; Visiting Professor, INSEAD, 1994; Visiting
Associate Professor, Harvard University, 1980-81;
Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management,
The Three Box Solution: A Strategy For
Leading Innovation, April 2016; Beyond The Idea:
How to Execute Innovation In Any Organization,
2013 (with Chris Trimble); How Stella Saved The
Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen,
2013 (with Chris Trimble); Reverse Innovation:
Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere, 2012 (with
Chris Trimble); The Other Side Of Innovation:
Solving The Execution Challenge, 2010 (with Chris
Trimble); The Quest For Global Dominance:
Transforming Global Presence Into Global
Competitive Advantage, 2008 (with Anil Gupta and
Haiyan Wang); Ten Rules For Strategic Innovators –
From Idea to Execution, 2005 (with Chris Trimble).
He has been featured in the
Thinkers50 rankings in 2011, 2013, 2015.
The future is now
Professor Vijay Govindarajan is one of five Indians featured
in a ranking of the world’s top 50 management thinkers.
He speaks to
about reverse innovation,
his grandfather’s influence and his forthcoming book
PHOTOS COURTESY OF
About Prof Govindarajan
March 25, 2016
March 25, 2016
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