Site MapSubscribe Contact UsHome

How can you enter an emerging market – and improve the lives of millions?

In India, leading manufacturer Godrej & Boyce wanted to reinvigorate growth in its venerable household appliance business. We helped find a way to attract non-consumers—the more than 80% of Indian households that lacked basic appliances such as refrigerators.


ChotuKool logo

The idea to address the basic refrigeration needs of rural families in India began in 2006 at a disruptive innovation workshop led by Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School through Innosight.

The Innosight team began its work by imagining living in a home without a refrigerator. Electricity is unavailable or unreliable in many rural parts of India, where families earning under $5 per day can't afford major appliances.

Could a community step up and help create a solution? Godrej Vice President G. Sunderraman led trips around rural India, observing the daily routines of villagers. Using our "jobs-to-be-done" approach, he and the Innosight team witnessed how rural consumers purchased, prepared and stored food and drinks.

Defining a simple but urgent "job"

We concluded that these homes didn't need cheap refrigerators. The "job" was much more basic. People needed an affordable way to keep milk, vegetables and leftovers cool for a day or two—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.

Godrej developed prototypes for feedback at "co-creation" events. In a straw poll of 600 women in the village of Osmanabad, the community voted to make the product red, the color of harmony and bliss.

From this effort came the ChotuKool, or "little cool" in Hindi. A disruptive innovation for the base of the economic pyramid, ChotuKool has been called "the Tata Nano of appliances," in a reference to India's super-compact car.

Instead of traditional compressors, ChotuKool is based on a thermoelectric chip that maintains a cool temperature on a 12-volt DC current or an external battery. The unconventional opening ensures cold air settles down in the cabinet to minimize heat loss and power consumption. The unit is highly portable, with 45 liters of volume inside a fully plastic body weighing less than 10 pounds.

Priced at $69, about half of an entry level refrigerator, Chotukool creates a new product category, with a targeted value proposition that serves a new segment of customers.

Developing the business model

Since ChotuKool is so unique, GEdisonAwds_GOLDodrej needed to evolve a new business model to fit the market. Innosight suggested options for a new kind of financing plan and low-cost distribution system that generates profits.

Moving beyond a single-state test market, Godrej is now in the process of expanding distribution using community networks. The result is an innovation with impact. Godrej & Boyce is on pace to sell 100,000 ChotuKools in only its second full year on the market.

The early success of ChotuKool led to Godrej being named India's most innovative company of the year by Business Standard magazine in a ceremony conducted by the nation's Prime Minister. BusinessWeek and Fast Company named Godrej one of the world's "most innovative companies."  ChotuKool was also awarded the 2012 Edison Award Gold prize for the Social Impact category. Most recently, Godrej redesigned and relaunched ChotuKool as a major consumer brand, with expanded distribution and a way for consumers to order personalized versions online.



More Impact Stories


How America’s largest pharmacy chain embarked on a journey to transform into a health and wellness destination.

View Story

VF Jeanswear, Lee Brand

How reshaping the shopping process helped catapult a brand to #1.

View story

Turner Broadcasting

How a major TV network is preventing new technology from disrupting its business.

View story

Manila Water

How a municipal utility is transforming into a global growth company.

View Story

P&G's New Growth Factory

How Innosight’s innovation tools helped the world’s largest consumer products firm hit its growth goals.

View Story


How a global financial services enterprise restored its innovation leadership.

View Story

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

How the world’s largest K-12 textbook publisher turned disruption into opportunity.

View Story

Align, Procter & Gamble

How an innovative way of introducing a new idea led to the creation of a hit product.

View story

Chevy Volt

How an iconic car brand took an innovative approach to rolling out a different kind of vehicle.

View story

TB Innovation Summit

How can you discover new solutions to giant challenges using collaborative thinking tools?

View Story

Healthy Heart, Medtronic

How the world’s largest medical device maker created a business model to unlock an unserved market.

View Story


How one of Earth's biggest agri-businesses built the capability to hit growth targets year after year.

View story

The Hospital for Sick Children

How a leading academic medical center installed a new innovation system to save both money and lives.

View Story

Related Insights

Books from Innosight:

Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal

Read more

Books from Innosight:

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

Read more

The payoff we received from our work with Innosight is even more profound than we had hoped for.

Joseph Dzialo
President, VF Jeanswear, Lee Brand

Grow with Innosight

Interested in learning how Innosight can help your organization?

Contact us

Meet our team and explore what it's like to work at Innosight.