Innovation is the lifeblood of businesses looking to stay ahead in a constantly evolving marketplace. While traditional innovation methods can be effective, businesses looking to truly differentiate themselves need to consider unconventional innovation trends. These trends can help businesses drive growth, increase efficiency, and stay ahead of their competition. In this blog post, we’ll explore five unconventional innovation trends in India and how businesses can leverage them to drive success.

What Really is Innovation?

Innovation is a buzzword that is often thrown around in business and entrepreneurial circles, but what does it really mean? At its core, innovation is about finding new and better ways to solve problems and meet needs. It involves taking risks, challenging the status quo, and thinking outside the box. Innovation can take many forms, from new products and services to novel business models and processes. But regardless of the specific manifestation, innovation is about creating value and driving growth. It is a crucial ingredient for long-term success in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Decoding the Unconventional Innovation Trends in India

Innovation is no longer a buzzword, but a necessity for businesses to stay relevant and competitive. While traditional methods of innovation have been successful in the past, the world is changing rapidly, and businesses need to keep up with the times. India, being a rapidly developing nation, has witnessed some unconventional innovation trends that have taken the country by storm. From collaborative innovation to design thinking, Indian businesses are finding new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the game.

Below, we will delve into these unconventional innovation trends in India and understand how businesses can leverage them for growth and success. 

Collaborative Innovation

Collaborative innovation involves bringing together people from different backgrounds and skill sets to work on a common goal. This approach is becoming increasingly popular in India, where businesses are looking to leverage diverse perspectives to drive innovation.


One example of successful collaborative innovation in India is the development of the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car. Tata Motors brought together a team of engineers, designers, and suppliers to create a car that was affordable for the Indian market. The result was a car that sold over 300,000 units in its first three years on the market.

To leverage collaborative innovation, businesses in India should focus on building diverse teams, creating a culture of collaboration, and investing in technology that facilitates remote collaboration.

Frugal Innovation

Frugal innovation involves developing cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of consumers in emerging markets. This approach is particularly relevant in India, where a large portion of the population is underserved and price-sensitive.

One example of successful frugal innovation in India is the Chotukool refrigerator, developed by Godrej Appliances. This compact, portable refrigerator was designed to meet the needs of rural consumers who lacked access to electricity. The Chotukool was affordable, energy-efficient, and easy to maintain, making it a hit with consumers in rural areas.

To adopt frugal innovation, businesses in India should focus on developing products that are affordable, easy to use, and durable. They should also prioritize simplicity and sustainability in their design and manufacturing processes.

Circular Innovation

Circular innovation involves creating products and services that are designed to be reused, recycled, or repurposed. This approach can help businesses become more sustainable and reduce their environmental impact.

One example of successful circular innovation in India is the use of recycled plastic in the construction of roads. This approach, pioneered by the Indian government, involves using waste plastic to create a more durable and cost-effective alternative to traditional road-building materials.

To integrate circular innovation, businesses in India should focus on reducing waste, optimizing their supply chains, and creating closed-loop systems that allow for the reuse of materials.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Clayton Christensen in his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” It refers to an innovation that disrupts an existing market by creating a new one or by significantly altering the competitive landscape. This kind of innovation can transform industries and create new opportunities for businesses.

In India, there are many examples of successful disruptive innovation. For instance, the ride-hailing app Ola disrupted the traditional taxi industry by creating a new market for ride-sharing services. Similarly, Paytm disrupted the Indian payment industry by creating a new digital payments market.

However, disruptive innovation also comes with its fair share of challenges. Disruptive innovation, as one of the unconventional innovation trends in India, often requires a significant investment of time and resources and may not guarantee immediate returns. Moreover, it can also face regulatory hurdles and resistance from established players in the market.

Despite these challenges, businesses can embrace disruptive innovation for growth by fostering a culture of innovation and investing in R&D to develop disruptive products and services. By doing so, they can not only gain a competitive edge but also create new markets and opportunities.

Innovation through Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are crucial elements of any innovation strategy. In a diverse and inclusive workplace, employees feel valued and supported, leading to a more productive and creative workforce. This can foster innovation and help businesses stay ahead of the curve.


Many Indian businesses have successfully leveraged diversity and inclusion for innovation. For instance, the global IT giant Infosys has a diversity and inclusion strategy that focuses on empowering women and promoting diversity across its workforce. Similarly, Godrej Consumer Products has a diversity and inclusion strategy that focuses on creating a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming to all employees.

However, as one of the unconventional innovation trends in India, diversity and inclusion also comes with challenges. It requires a significant investment in training and resources to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Moreover, businesses may also face resistance to change from employees who are not used to working in such an environment.

Despite these challenges, businesses can create a culture of diversity and inclusion by fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, investing in employee training and development, and promoting diversity across their workforce. By doing so, they can create a more productive and innovative workforce that can help them stay ahead of the competition.

The Connection between Unconventional Innovation Trends in India and Design Thinking

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving that focuses on understanding users’ needs and creating solutions that meet those needs. It is a highly effective tool for fostering innovation in businesses.

In India, many businesses have successfully used design thinking to drive innovation. For instance, the automobile manufacturer Mahindra has used design thinking to develop innovative products such as the Mahindra XUV500. Similarly, the financial services provider HDFC Bank has used design thinking to develop innovative products and services that meet the needs of its customers.

Businesses can integrate design thinking into their innovation processes by involving customers and stakeholders in the design process, creating cross-functional teams, and using rapid prototyping to test and refine solutions. By doing so, they can create innovative products and services that meet the needs of their customers and stay ahead of the competition.

Related content – 7 Tips To Crush Your New Product Innovation Using Design Thinking’s Goals


Innovation is the key to success for businesses in India, and leveraging unconventional innovation trends can provide a competitive edge. Collaborative, frugal, circular, disruptive, and diversity and inclusion are the five unconventional innovation trends in India that can be adopted by businesses for growth.

Collaborative innovation emphasizes the power of collaboration and co-creation, while frugal innovation emphasizes cost-effectiveness and simplicity. Circular innovation focuses on creating sustainable and circular business models, while disruptive innovation aims to transform industries. Lastly, diversity and inclusion foster innovation by bringing in diverse perspectives and ideas.

Design thinking is an excellent approach that can be used to foster innovation by putting the customer at the center of the innovation process. It can be integrated into innovation processes to bring a human-centered approach and create innovative solutions.

In conclusion, innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas but also about executing them successfully. Indian businesses that embrace these unconventional innovation trends and create a culture of innovation and experimentation are more likely to succeed in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. By doing so, they can stay ahead of the competition and continue to grow and thrive.

About the author

Anuradha is a passionate Design Thinking practitioner with 10+ years of industry experience. She has dived into the field of Design and Design Thinking, where she is trained to design experiences. She is the Founding Partner and Design lead at Humane Design and Innovation (HDI) Consulting. Her professional career spans various roles in Advisory, UX Design, Service Design, Engineering Design, Design integration, and Training. She was the lead designer of the Design Thinking and Innovation practice at KPMG. She has designed multiple digital experiences by conducting strategic UX workshops and design experiences that add functional and emotional value. To her friends & peers, she is the Bonding Agent of the team and always a go-to person. She is an avid reader, blogger & painting enthusiast.

We at Humane Design strongly believe in the human ethos and draw inspiration from humans and other elements of nature to design innovative solutions for organizations of all sizes. We will be glad to be your success partner. Email us your requirements at

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