At a conceptual level, several ideas behind eChoupal were based on Physics. This write-up is a part of an old document; just realised this was never posted on Shiv's Third Eye...
So here goes:
As a physics student I was deeply fascinated by Einstein’s famous insight e=mc2. Until he figured out the implication of speed of light, energy and mass were two independent and unrelated fields. With one stroke of genius he converged the two, and the world was never the same again.
In a similar manner, capitalist markets, with self interest of the entrepreneur as the foundation, were never thought of as a means to achieve social equity.
Interest of the disadvantaged communities, on the other hand, was always considered as the exclusive domain of Government or Community based organizations or Not-for-profits.
Much later, when our experience at ITC has demonstrated that markets do deliver social equity when you co-create them together with empowered communities, I felt the same excitement as I did when I understood Einstein’s equation.
In other words, co-creation concept has converged the two independent domains of equity and markets. Equity = Markets Co-created with Empowered Communities. A new meaning to e=mc2! And the core idea behind the value creation process in eChoupal.
Another metaphor from physics, Lever, helps in easily understanding the idea behind the value delivery process in eChoupal system.
People at the Bottom of the Pyramid access markets under constrained conditions because of the voids in physical or institutional infrastructure, besides limitations in some of their own capacities.
Void filling by some appropriate “lever” can force multiply the outcomes and enable an empowered market access for these people.
Investment in Information & Communication Technologies was the key lever that made all the difference in case of eChoupal, through the process of price discovery in the village.
Yet another physics principle, ChaosTheory, holds the secret of the most important idea in the "business" model aspect of eChoupal viz. the value capture mechanism.
In the world of chaos, an attractor ensures stability and predictability.
Much the same way, as the Orchestrator of the eChoupal ecosystem, ITC puts the network together, innovates the value capture mechanisms that do not strain the small wallets of the customers at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Win+win outcomes for all stakeholders through logistics reorganization, value through identity preserved produce are obvious examples of this phenomenon.
Vision of eChoupal
Yet another physics metaphor! Black Holes for a Green World.
Curious? Another blog-post, in due course, will have the details.