The Future Of Innovation Is About Collaboration And Co-creation,

Mr Mehmood Khan

Villages as sources of growth, nurturing women power and leveraging Global Networks are key for Global Growth

There are circa 6.7 billion people on planet earth and about 70 millions are added every year. Various projections show that we will have about 9 to 10 billion people in next 30-40 years after which the population will stabilise or will start decreasing.

Taking India as an example 70% of the population lives in villages and majority of the population growth is happening in villages. Mewat is a region in North India in which Meo community has lived for ages. 50% people live below poverty line. The literacy in 2003 was 23 % against 65% for the county as whole. Girl literacy was only 2%. I initiated an experiment in Mewat with the help of organisations from voluntary, corporate and Government bodies. Stakeholder meet confirmed following priorities for people.



Health and Hygiene


We developed an action plan in which more then 80% of the actions were taken by villagers on themselves. The state system also responded by appointing 5000 teachers to provide one teacher for every 40 students who joined the schools. Now 85% children in the age range of 6 to 14 are going to school. The quality is still an issue but this will get addressed as move along the journey. The corporate sector responded positively as well: Unilever’s company on the ground (HUL) started Shakti Project which has trained and appointed 45 women entrepreneurs, Aviva appointed 15 Insurance agents, L&T has taken a dozen youth for construction work, GENPACT contributed computers to start computer literacy, Mother Dairy has opened milk collection plants, and ICICI bank has opened a Branch and recruited the full batch of graduates who passed the 6 month Computer and English module. This experiment is young but what it shows is that the enormous issues our world faces can be addressed by bringing Stakeholders together.

The corporate world is recognising the power of Collaboration and Co-creation but has not got on top of it yet. This experiment is providing space to corporate world to come and participate in their own way without being put into a straight jacket; each experiments in their own ways. Collectively these companies are benefiting each other and people while helping themselves. By nature this requires spirit of experimentation to co-create and develop these in to full fledged viable businesses.

Governments have to learn that future job creation will happen through large companies who act as nucleus, then smaller enterprises can be developed as suppliers and customers of these large companies.

As majority population growth is happening in villages it is in every body’s interest to see these as source of growth and help in building their capability. As the saying goes “If you educate one girl, you educate a family”. In this experiment we have seen the girls in the age range of 14-19 as rapid learners and have become catalysts of change in the family.

Global Networks have contributed for the success of this experiment and the bottom line is that all Stakeholders have benefited in this experiment with growth of Pie. Villagers incomes have increased in some cases as much as 50% within a year. Corporate world has benefited from increased sales or cost effective procurement opportunities or finding cost effective talent, unemployment is reducing as the youth are finding work commensurate to their skills.

Article © 2009 Mr Mehmood Khan. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Mehmood Khan

Mr Mehmood Khan

affiliation:   Unilever

position:  Global Leader of Innovation Process Development

country:  United Kingdom

area of interest:  Innovation

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