Mahindra USA Inc. is now a Tuck Executive Education case study on Reverse Innovation. This development follows Mahindra USA featuring in a book (Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere) by Vijay Govindrajan, Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Commenting on Mahindra USA being a case study at Tuck, Prof. Govindrajan said, “The Mahindra USA case study is one of the excellent examples whereby senior leaders at our Executive Program can understand the challenges as well as the frustrations they will face on the road to innovation. The tapestry of geographies and cultures in which executives pursue efforts in reverse innovation are likely to demand considerable adaptation and sometimes even improvisation. The Mahindra USA story can show executives that in the pursuit of reverse innovation’s rewards, one can be both disciplined and flexible.”
Mahindra USA entered the US tractor market in 1994 and proceeded to establish itself as a successful niche player using innovative marketing and sales strategies.
Rather than trying to develop a product that could compete with bigger brands, MUSA targeted a smaller agricultural niche – hobby farmers, landscapers, and building contractors – and coupled this strategy with personalized service, building close relationships with dealers, customers and the community at large.
“Reverse Innovation is any innovation that is adopted first in the developing world.” This is contrary to the dominant innovation pattern which dictates that innovations typically originate in rich and developed countries and later flow downhill to the developing world. Prof. Govindrajan also describes Mahindra as one of several “emerging giants, the rising generation of multinationals headquartered in the developing world.
This approach proved highly effective with MUSA’s sales growing an average of 40 percent per year, from 1999 to 2006.