Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gandhian Engineering

Gandhian Engineering is the term that's cropping up all over Cyberspace after the launch of Tata's radically innovative car: the Nano.

Clayton Christensen's company blog refers to it and India's version of the Wall Street Journal, Livemint, says Gandhian engineering is "combining irreverence for conventional ways of thinking with a frugality born of developing-world scarcity".

The car has no seatbelts, no airbags, no radio,
The dashboard has only a speedometer, fuel gauge and oil light
There are no reclining seats, no power steering or power windows.

The car is assembled by the dealer and not by Tata, reducing transportation costs significantly and helping Tata build an ecosystem of suppliers and partners.

The Nano claims to deliver 50 mpg - comparable to the Toyota Prius which is priced at ten times the Nano. As Andy Grove puts it, this is a ten-times force acting that will cause a strategic inflection point both for Indian automobile manufacturers as well as global competitors. Volkswagen and Ford already have plans to make a small car to take on the Nano. It's not just the automobile manufacturers that are being impacted - it impacts motorcycle manufacturers too as consumers look at the large increase in convenience for a marginal increase in cost

In a measure of how much influence the Nano is wielding in Cyberspace, it has beaten the iPod Nano on Google and Yahoo search results - so take that Steve Jobs !

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