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Khushi Baby: Origins*

CASE STUDY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & STARTUPS
ET Cases - FLAME, 13 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Manali Mundra, student at Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur, Ganesh N Prabhu, Professor of Strategy, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Case Preview

Khushi Baby: Origins

 

“The current paper-based system to track the health status of patients is outdated and cumbersome. Records are easily lost or damaged, and the lack of patient-specificity makes it nearly impossible to deliver right care. Moreover, many mothers do not understand the importance of vaccines and do not return to the immunization camps; as a result, children fall through the cracks and are left susceptible to disease. At Khushi Baby, we are working to ensure that each pregnant woman and child’s health is tracked to the last mile so that millions of deaths can be averted.”

– Ruchit Nagar, Founder, Khushi Baby

Idea

Khushi Baby aims to decentralize the medical records of babies with the help of wearable technology to solve two problems in rural areas – low levels of immunization of babies due to the inability of health workers to reach remote places and misplaced medical records of babies.

The idea of the Khushi Baby project was formed when Indian-American student Ruchit Nagar (Ruchit), was working on a course assignment at the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. The Yale students were tasked with finding an innovative solution to address the world’s vaccine gap and were assigned to random teams of four each across the three phases – research, ideation and prototyping.

The team’s prototyping group (which included Ruchit) picked up the research area of ‘vaccine data and ensuring accountability’ and came up with the specific idea of a wearable reminder for immunizations. Their basic prototype was then enhanced to include a whole system of data collection and community engagement. The wearable device became an offline medical record whose usage could be promoted through campaigns in rural areas....................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Khushi Baby Pendant

Exhibit II: Khushi Baby Team in 2017

Exhibit III: Khushi Baby System Shown on Kickstarter Campaign

Exhibit IV: Khushi Baby Financials (2014-2017)

 

 

Teaching Note Preview

Khushi Baby: Origins

 

Synopsis

The case describes an interesting and innovative social enterprise startup that seeks to make an impact by reducing infant and child mortality among the rural poor in India. The initiative starts as a student project at Yale University, USA and the initial cash awards won by the team provides initial funding for a pilot project in India. Khushi Baby is currently a not-for-profit venture from Rajasthan, India that introduced an innovative low cost waterproof pendant for babies that is embedded with a Near Field Communication (NFC) computer chip with the baby’s entire immunization records. It replaces the paper-based system where records are easily lost or damaged and parents often forget to report to the immunization camps leaving children susceptible to disease. The pendant has a robust black threaded necklace which is like the traditional black thread tied around babies to ward-off the evil eye and is thus never removed by mothers. The pendant is scanned with a smartphone application by healthcare workers on visits to administer vaccines and the data is uploaded to a cloud server when the health worker returns to the city.

Khushi Baby aims to decentralize medical records to solve two problems – one, low levels of immunization of babies due to the inability of health workers to reach remote places and two, misplaced medical records of babies. Khushi Baby’s founder, Ruchit Nagar (Ruchit) was part of a student team at Yale that developed a prototype of a wearable reminder for immunizations. The idea and prototype won the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health and with the prize money, Khushi Baby was launched in May 2014. The system was field tested in Udaipur with Seva Mandir, a local volunteer organization. The early prototype was enhanced to include comprehensive data collection and community engagement through effective publicity in rural areas and cell phone voice call reminders. This case study describes how the founders created a network of volunteer supporters and built credibility among the health officials. It also describes the startup challenges in detail and covers bootstrapping methods used at the startup stage given that most funding on the project came through awards won by the founders. With only four full time employees, seven part time employees and sixteen full time contract workers, the team has to grow both in size and reach. Students discuss on the tradeoffs in planning for growth.

Pedagogical Objectives

This case illustrates a bootstrap startup process and illustrates the difficulties of running a social enterprise where the user does not and cannot pay the bills. While Khushi Baby team has been able to build visibility and received many awards, they have to find a sustainable source of funding and support for an ongoing activity that meets several compelling social objectives. Since this is an early stage case, a number of potential new product and new market opportunities can be identified by students for the base product and their feasibility and viability can be examined. Business model, innovation and business strategy linkages can be explained with the help of this case. The case also illustrates many dilemmas and tradeoffs identified in the process of product development and launch. It is also useful as an assignment case.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in:

• BBA and MBA courses in social entrepreneurship and product innovation.
• Strategy sessions on inclusive business models.

Assignment Questions

I. Identify and assess each major product-market decision taken at Khushi Baby and suggest the possible and better alternatives to those major decisions, if any.
II....................

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Abstract

Khushi Baby is a not-for-profit venture from Rajasthan, India, that introduced an innovative low cost waterproof pendant for babies that is embedded with a Near Field Communiation (NFC) Computer Chip with the baby’s entire immunization records. It replaces the paper-based system where records are easily lost or damaged and parents often forget to report to the immunization camps leaving children susceptible to disease. The pendant has a robust black threaded necklace which is like the traditional black thread tied around babies to ward off the evil eye and is thus never removed by mothers. The pendant is scanned with a smartphone application by healthcare workers on visits to administer vaccines and the data is uploaded to a cloud server when the health worker returns to the city.

Khushi Baby aims to decentralize medical records to solve two problems – one, low levels of immunization of babies due to the inability of health workers to reach remote places and two, misplaced medical records of babies by their parents. Khushi Baby’s founder, Ruchit Nagar (Ruchit), was part of a student team at Yale University that developed a prototype of a wearable reminder for immunizations. The idea and prototype won the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health and with the prize money, Khushi Baby was launched in May 2014. The system was field-tested in Udaipur with Seva Mandir, a local volunteer organization. The early prototype was enhanced to include comprehensive data collection and community engagement through effective publicity in rural areas and cell phone voice call reminders. “We are working to ensure that each pregnant woman and child’s health is tracked to the last mile so that millions of deaths can be averted”, says Ruchit. With only four full time employees, seven part time employees and sixteen full time contractors, the team has to grow both in size and reach.

Pedagogical Objectives

This case illustrates a bootstrap startup process and the difficulties of running a social enterprise where the user does not and cannot pay the bills. While Khushi Baby team has been able to build visibility and received many awards, they have to find a sustainable source of funding and support for an ongoing activity that meets several compelling social objectives. Since this is an early stage case, a number of potential new product and new market opportunities can be identified by students for the base product and their feasibility and viability can be examined. Business model, innovation and business strategy linkages can be explained with the help of this case. The case also illustrates many dilemmas and tradeoffs identified in the process of product development and launch. It is also useful as an assignment case.


Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in:

  • BBA and MBA courses in social entrepreneurship and product innovation.
  • Strategy sessions on inclusive business models.

* FLAME CASE CONFERENCE 2017

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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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