Lean Kanban India - Fit for Purpose Essay Competition

"Fit For Purpose - how modern businesses find, satisfy & keep customers" is the recent book by David J. Anderson, Chairman of LKU and creator of The Kanban Method, along with his colleague at LKU, Alexei Zheglov. Both David and Alexei are regular speakers in Lean/Agile conferences, globally. The book describes an approach to long term business survival, by segmenting a market based on customer purpose and then, designing products and services to adequately fulfil these purposes. When a product or service is fit-for-purpose, customers will like it, even love it, and keep coming back for more. Hence, it is vital to understand the purposes for which a product or service is used and the features it must have to be fit-for-purpose.

We have identified three businesses/organizations in India that have evolved and thrived for decades despite significant changes in environment and customer dynamics


The humble auto-rickshaw (also known as “Tuk Tuk” in many other countries) - This has been a staple form of public transportation in India and throughout Asia, Africa and South America for 70 years. It has stood the test of time. We would like you to explore what makes the auto-rickshaw so robust and fit-for-purpose. Why is it still a vital part of transportation infrastructure after 70 years?

Auto Rikshaw


The Indian Post Office - With over 150000 post-offices and over 150 years of experience, they continue to the mainstay of India’s critical infrastructure for all its citizens. From communication and parcel services to banking and insurance services, the India Post Office has continued to grow stronger and stronger despite immense competition from the private sector. What’s behind their success and how have they continued to evolve to be robust and fit-for-purpose for its customers?

Post Office


The Mumbai Dabbawala - Since 1890, the Mumbai Dabbawala has delivered their service with an amazing quality. They are an example of HBR and have been honoured by multiple global organizations. Despite modern day food delivery models, the Mumbai Dabbawala continues to grow by 5-10% every year and is one of the most trusted partners for over 175000+ Mumbaikars. What makes them so unique? Why is their more so insurmountable?


We invite you to write an essay on any of these above businesses/organizations to explain why they have been such a winner!

Grand Price

Grand Price

  • Essay professionally edited and produced and published online in PDF format via the web site.
  • Complimentary copy of the book signed by the authors.
  • All expenses paid* trip to Lean Kanban India conference in Bangalore on September 21- 22, 2018.
  • Limited edition Indian market version of the "Fit for Purpose" book, featuring the winning essay on the cover. This will replace the existing first chapter about the London taxi service from the book.
Second Price

Second Price

  • Essay professionally edited and produced and published online in PDF format via the web site.
  • Complimentary copy of the book signed by the authors.
  • Complimentary ticket* to Lean Kanban India conference.
Third Price

3 x Third Price

  • Essay professionally edited and produced and published online in PDF format via the web site.
  • Complimentary copy of the book signed by the authors.

Competition Rules

  • Register for the competition and download the 2 chapter book extract.
  • Write an essay of between 1500 and 4500 words designed to replace chapter 1 of the existing book.
  • Submit your entry before June 30th 2018.
  • Judges - David J. Anderson, Alexei Zheglov. Organizers may add additional judges at their discretion.
  • Winners will be announced via the Lean Kanban India 2018 website and social media on or before August 15th 2018.
  • *Air fares will be round trip economy class for the grand prize winner. Incase you are flying from outside india, air fare will be limited to a maximum subsidy of $1000 USD or actual whichever is less. If you are the grand prize winner, then hotel stay and registration for the event will also be provided.

Guidance for entrants

Your essay can be set in India, elsewhere in Asia, or anywhere else where you might have experienced one of the above organizations/businesses. Try to give your piece some colour and local flavour. Encourage your reader to understand the culture and setting in which you see these. You should seek to inform, educate and entertain with your essay. Provide facts but also embellish your story with opinion, experience, emotion cultural or historical insights. You might want to describe the past and present and speculate about its future: what will keep the dabbawala or the auto-rickshaw or the postman relevant and fit-for-purpose for decades to come?

You may write in any style**

  • You could use first person narrative as you personally experience or a third person perspective, with the reader as the observer.
  • You can write fiction, or a true story, or an journalistic style article reporting on the past, present and future.

The winning entry is likely to demonstrate clearly the consumer's experience selecting and using the business/organization. For example, if you are writing about the auto-rickshaw, you would cover

  • Who uses the auto-rickshaw as service?
  • For what purposes do people choose an auto-rickshaw?
  • When selecting an auto-rickshaw over other options (such as bus, train, car, taxi), what are the compelling reasons or features that make the auto-rickshaw the best choice?
  • What features must be present for an auto-rickshaw to be fit-for-purpose?
  • What service levels do you expect, for each purpose, in order for the auto-rickshaw to be fit-for-purpose?
  • How is it threatened and how does it evolve/adopt in response to the ride-share services?

More expansive entries might like to consider the owner/operator of the auto-rickshaw and the perspective of town and city planners and transportation planners

  • As an owner/operator of an auto-rickshaw, what makes it fit-for-purpose? What criteria would attract you to own and operate an auto-rickshaw service? As an example, when talking with London taxi drivers/owners they cite total cost of ownership, available finance to purchase the vehicle, its long life expectancy, and ease and speed of maintenance. Do auto-rickshaw owner-operators have similar concerns? What do they say?
  • As a city or transportation planner why is the auto-rickshaw still part of your planning? What role does it play in an integrated transportation solution in your region?

Thinking to the future, what are the survival prospects for the auto-rickshaw? Is it robust? Will it continue to mutate and evolve and stay relevant OR is it fragile and are its days numbered? If so, what might replace it and when?

**Entrants should not worry too much about English grammar or voice. Entries will be judged much more on content and the ability to inform, educate, and entertain. All 3 winning entries will be professionally edited for style, grammar, voice and spelling by a copy editor prior to publication.


Lean Kanban India - Fit for Purpose Essay Competition


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