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Simplicity delivers solutions beyond tech: Wangchuk.


Date: 22-02-2020
Subject: Simplicity delivers solutions beyond tech: Wangchuk
With the onset of tourism in the Leh valley, the locals started getting influenced by the architecture followed in the cities and town. Soon enough, many mud houses were being converted into cement houses as a cement house was a sign of affluence. However, the houses made with cement were unfit for the weather and turned extremely cold during the winters. 

“After spending significant money on building cement houses, people were forced to spend more money on keeping these houses warm,” says Sonam Wangchuk , innovator, education reformist, inspiration for the film  3 Idiots and Ramon Magsaysay Award winner. 

Wangchuck and his students wanted to sell the idea of mud houses to the people in the valley, but they realised that the poor did not want these houses as ‘no one wants to be known as poor’. 

“We then started building mud houses with contemporary architecture and interiors, making them aspirational. Soon, many rich people were building the mud houses and the poor were not tearing away their mud houses for the cement ones,” said Wangchuk, while talking on a session about Simplicity Delivers Beyond-Tech Solutions. He said creating a market and impression around the product also helped them in marketing it. 

The idea was to brand and position the idea in a way that it sells among the people. Talking about another such simple innovation, he spoke about the concept of ‘Ice Stupas’. Ice Stupas are basically small man-made glaciers that can provide water to the farmers in a region in the, otherwise, dry periods of spring and summer. “Instead of telling people that these were cones of ice, we presented them as Ice Stupas and we even put prayer flags around them,” said Wangchuk. He and his students further got environment ambassadors to endorse the idea and innovation. The Ice Stupa soon became a movement worldwide and people started having stupa building competitions and ice stupa cafes. 

Going beyond the idea of branding and marketing these innovations, Wangchuk said these were just small fixes and would not help the mountains in the long-term. “We realised that we need to get people to change their behaviour and have to communicate in an innovative way that resonates with them,” he said. Here comes his latest ‘innovation’ called Live Simply movement. The movement allows people to register their steps on the website and it would tell them their contribution towards saving the environment in monetary terms. 

“One of the most important things about marketing is that the brands have to walk the talk. “I have stopped ironing my clothes to save electricity, I wear shoes bought in 1989 and wear clothes torn and sewn,” said Wangchuk. 

“One of the most important things about marketing is that the brands have to walk the talk. “I have stopped ironing my clothes to save electricity, I wear shoes bought in 1989 and wear clothes torn and sewn,” said Wangchuk. 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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