SHG2.0 – Prosperity through Web2.0 + Micro Enterprise

Executive Summary

How open source technique, social network trends can be leveraged to solve a (my)business problem, attack poverty simultaneously. Combining craft with technology to create products of high utility value and aesthetic appeal. Produce such products using craft enterprises – SHGs and infuse technology in their livilihood. The 2-way conversation will benefit the tech industries in the area of rapid prototyping.

A video of my talk at BarcampChennai, Thanks to G Balaji of TrackBack.

Business Problem
I have this tagging based paper file tracking technique. I want to commercialize it in a big way.

A small introduction of the technique is needed here. It is a simple technique of using a tiny electronic chip to ‘tag’ the object to be tracked. The chip chosen is so simple that anyone who understands how to connect a light bulb will be able to understand it and start using it. Thus simplicity of technique level adoption is a major USP of the technique.

We are discussing business problem, so we start with demand. Lot of offices, especially the government and the PSU sector have a lot of files. They tend to get lost and it creates productivity loss, service breakdowns, even credibility loss. Even private sector, there are a lot of things still on paper for example employment contracts and lot of financial evidence are still maintained on paper. This is not going to change in the mid term( 5-8 years). Thus there is demand. And to meet this demand, I need to produce these tags and other paraphernalia that goes with it.

Coordinating this supply and demand is the business situation that needs to be addressed. Here is a list of options.

1) Global MNC approach. Invest in fully automated manufacturing unit locate it in a low cost region. Or outsource manufacturing to such an unit. Then align global supply chain and demand pipeline to realize profit. Create entry barriers through every conceivable way. Kill innovation if possible. It is a well trodden path. The simplicity element does not go well with this approach. The low entry barrier is in direct conflict with the huge invetment required to get this model going. This model might be viable for deeply entrenched players. Yet Web2.0 trend of rampant disruption poses serious threats to even entrenched players.

What happens to the innovation: Unlikely to be build up on. Most likely it will stagnate.

Viability, sustainability: Viable for existing players. They are working on other stuff that will give them better entry barriers – thus they will not be inclined towards this. Disruptive technologies can affect adversely.

2) The sweatshop approach: Indian garment export unit like approach. Deploy an army of workers. Exploit, be exploited. Find ways to sell 50% rejects also. Thre will be multiple layers of management. Any small change in technology, or process will require huge retraining.

What happens to the innovation: Not much incentive to innovate.
Viablity: Unlike garment, in the technology space rapid retraining is needed for survival. More you look into it more it will drive you out of this model.

3) SHG2.0 way: SHG or Self Help Group and micro financing model is increasingly proving to be successful. Typically they take up a loan as a group, engage in economic activities and create prosperity for themselves. As for as I know, many are restricted to food processing, or similar low tech activities. With that proved, now time is ripe for infusing diversity in the activities – especially technology based activities that will yield higher return.
Here the simplicity of the innovation will come in handy. And there is lot of scope for innovation. Thus I see a fit.
Here I am presenting the case for FileMon production based on this approach. It is simple to understand. Easy to transfer.
Merits are it can enrich productivity and put productivity in the spotlight.
Can infuse technology in the livelihood of artisans and craftsmen and common people.

The 2-way conversation between craftsmen and innovators can be a very valuable platform to spur innovation. Rapid prototyping will be totally rewritten. It is the frustrating lack of rapid prototyping infrastructure that makes it helpless for the top talent not to address local problems and to drive them towards software services.

Update: This BarCamp presentation is now going to be showcased again at the WikiCamp India Chennai. Kind of a progress report. It will be really exciting to harness the wisdom of the crowd to bring this concept to furition! More as it happens! Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to SHG2.0 – Prosperity through Web2.0 + Micro Enterprise

  1. Pingback: Vinu’s Online Cloud » ‘open source’ file organizer!

  2. Pingback: Joy Of Innovation » Show and Tell at BarCampChennai: SHG2.0?

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