In the last week I came across two interesting media stories that touched on leapfrogging development. One on Africa being advice to leapfrog from sewers and water closets straight to eco-sanitation systems; the other one on a small, fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle from India getting into the rich market of America
2009 will see the arrival of big emerging-market brands into the developed world, writes Tamzin Booth, European business editor of The Economist (p.127) in a special issue The World in 2009. Mahindra, an Indian conglomerate with a strong brand, which sells everything from tractors to insurance, will launch a small, fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle in America. Strawberry Frog, the advertising company working on the launch, says that emerging-market brands such as Mahindra can leapfrog rich-world markets by using guerrilla techniques and new media.
Africa should leapfrog from sewers and water closets straight to eco-sanitation systems in the same way as they did with going straight to mobile telephones instead of fixed lines, said Rose George, author of THE BIG NECESSITY: Adventures in the World of Human Waste, in an interview in a Dutch development magazine. She travels all over the world telling stories from her book, as I reported on the IRC monitor page: IRC in special sanitation theme issue of Internationale Samenwerking magazine.
For a good definition of leapfrogging development and an example from China see The Significance of Leapfrog Development of Education in China, PDF.