In 2006, an Indian multinational company named Godrej & Boyce came up with a big question: “How do we can go out from tight competition in refrigerator industry againts General Electric, Whirlpool, and LG?”
Whatever your business categories, if you want to find out opportunity to innovate, one of the proven ways is by looking for people who have urgent problem and help them to solve it. Or by searching people who feel the existing solution is to complicated, expensive, or difficult to access.
Godrej found that only 15% of the India market that purchased refrigerators, the remaining 85% didn’t. Why? Because for them, refrigerator is relatively expensive. Even if they can buy one, they won’t be able to pay electricity bills. Especially for the people who live in slum areas, a refrigerator is too big for their house. As a result, it brought out problem of food spoilage in rural India.
Godrej, with help from Innosight, started by imagining to live in a home without refrigerator and electricity. Even, they led trips around rural India, observing the daily routines of villagers. They witnessed how rural people purchased, prepared, then stored food and drinks. They came up with conclusion that the market needed an affordable and mobile solution to keep food cool for about two days.
We concluded that these homes didn’t need cheap refrigerators. The “job” was much more fundamental. People needed a cheap way to store milk, vegetables and others for one or two days, both at home or away. This job is urgent in a country where a third of all food is lost to spoilage, according to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.
With sufficient insights, in 2009, Godrej designed completely different type of refrigerator, they named it: ChotuKool. Instead of traditional compressors, ChotuKool maintains a cool temperature by installing small cooler which functions like a laptop battery conditioning fan. Its special cap make the cold air settles down within the container to reduce heat loss and power consumption. It is extremely portable, with forty five liters of volume within a plastic body weighing less than ten pounds.
Priced at about half of an entry level refrigerator, ChotuKool created a new product category and serve a new customer segment. It became a portable cooling solution that solve urgent food problem in rural India. Because of its contribution, ChotuKool was awarded the gold seal for best new product in the social impact category at 2012 Edison Awards.