Rethinking Innovation and Design For Emerging Markets


Book Title: Rethinking Innovation and Design For Emerging Markets: Inside the Renault Kwid Project
Authors:  Christophe Midler, Bernard Jullien, Yannick Lung
Publisher: Auerbach Publications / CRC Press
List Price:  $59.95
Format: Hard cover, 164 pages
Publication Date: May 2017
ISBN: 9781138037205
Reviewer: Dr. Charles Y. Chen, PMP
Review Date: March 2018



It is every entrepreneur’s dream and company’s desire to invent and develop a new product that will not only transform our lives but create an extremely lucrative revenue stream. Traditionally, the innovation method focuses on sophisticated products, usually incorporating new technologies to achieve cutting-edge performance to meet the expectations of the high-end market users of the first world countries.

But what about the developing countries?

In this book, Rethinking Innovation and Design for Emerging Markets, the authors have put together an engaging narrative of the creation process of a new automobile by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Kwid. The Kwid is an automobile specifically designed to meet the needs of the Indian user and overcome the challenges of the Indian market. The authors provide incisive insight and analysis into the management philosophy, organizational structure within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and design pathways necessary to develop the Kwid, which has the potential to disrupt the entry-level automobile market in India while establishing a competitive advantage for other emerging markets in developing countries

Overview of Book’s Structure

This book, an English translation of Innover à l’envers – Repenser la stratégie et la conception dans un monde frugal, is organized in two parts. The book begins with the history of the Kwid project, from its inception through the design process to its scale-up and deployment in the Indian market. It is written in narrative form.

Part two of the book takes an analytical view of the Kwid project from three points of view. First, the authors characterize “fractal innovation” and “frugal innovation” and their accompanying design processes. This is followed by a discussion of how a low-end strategy focused on emerging markets could be established and deployed in firms that are accustomed to serving first-world markets. The authors conclude this section with an analysis of how this reverse innovation strategy could be deployed in a large multinational organization.


The conventional innovation strategy we see in industrialized countries first focus on the needs of the wealthiest areas (top of the pyramid) before trickling down to users in emerging or developing countries [1]. The alternative approach is reverse innovation, where the focus is on the customers at “bottom of the pyramid.” The product design revolves around the specific needs of the customers in these emerging markets and is more likely to be produced locally [2], bringing a new balance of cost-scope-quality in product development. However, it is with this reverse innovation approach that provides a company a competitive position for high growth markets of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).


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About the Reviewer

Dr. Charles Y. Chen

Texas, USA



Dr. Charles Y. Chen has had the privilege of leading teams of engineers and scientists to transform ideas into viable products. His career began at Northrop Grumman, initially as a systems engineer and then as a program manager, he led matrixed teams of engineers to innovate, mature, and produce new electronic sensor technologies and algorithms. Energetics Incorporated introduced Charlie to the world of management consulting. Initially as a director then as the Chief Strategy Officer, he led teams to help clients transition ideas developed in the laboratory to the marketplace, overcoming the so-called valley of death. As Executive Vice President of Engineering at Hover Energy, Dr. Chen is leading and coordinating key activities to scale-up a new wind turbine designed for the urban environment.

Dr. Chen got his B.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He received his Executive Education from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As a PMP, he looks forward to leading teams to achieve the impossible.

Email address:

[email protected]


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