Aravind Eye Care Systems
Organization / Institution: Parsons School of Design
Role: Design Strategy
Collaborators: Tanvi Kanakia, Shalaka Jain, Abhishek Nair
Location: New York
'The Aravind Model' of large scale, highly subsidized / free eye surgeries is a subject of a number of service efficiency case studies around the world. In their journey towards eradicating needless blindness in India, Aravind has had to compete with numerous highly funded organizations to keep their business profitable while providing world-class, affordable eye care to the bottom-of-the-pyramid.
How much further can the Aravind model scale, especially in a highly competitive market? How can we build on this model to create a desirable future for bottom-of-the-pyramid health care services in India?
Foresight, concept exploration
"How might we create a desirable future for bottom-of-the-pyramid health care services in India "
We mapped out the current ecosystem in which Aravind operates to grasp the complexity of the system, uncover the key leverage points and areas of maximum impact. Using this insight we used foresight techniques to capture present market signals and conceptualized a future healthcare service scenario that provided positive value to all stakeholders.
Understanding the Aravind Model
36 million people
are blind worldwide
12 million people
are in India
The Aravind Eye foundation has treated nearly 35 million patients and performed nearly 4.5 million surgeries.
A majority of these surgeries are either for free or at a subsidized cost.
The current ecosystem
Key leverage points and areas of maximum impact
What could a desirable future look like for bottom-of-the-pyramid healthcare service in India where all stake-holders find new value?
1. Expanding from preventive to curative healthcare
Socio-cultural factors largely contribute to causing blindness in India. Although there have been widescale efforts in spreading awareness, these efforts lack teeth in the absence of affordable alternate solutions.
Entering into preventive eye care space stronly aligns with Aravind's mission of eliminating needless blindness. By leveraging its robust resources and network, Aravind has the opportunity to incubate start-ups who are looking at designing products and services that address this problem.
2. Retaining talent by changing incentives
Aravind relies heavily on its human resources. With the high number of surgeries performed by each doctor, the burnout rate is high. Also, the rising competition in the field gives rise to more opportunities for its talent.
Exploring a pivot from operating a family-run business to a co-operative might help improve involvement, create ownership and provide the right incentive for talent to stay.
3. A distributed collaborative model
Aravind is a zero-debt company that funds all its growth through own revenue. This is one of the reasons it has failed to grow geographically.
Following the Aravind model, a number of healthcare providers have started targetting the bottom of the pyramid, in different parts of the country.
A distributed collaborative model could be explored wherein Aravind could collaborate with these organizations and bring eye care expertise to these hospitals. The hospitals share their outreach efforts and benefit by providing a multi-specialty service offering and thereby capturing a larger market.