Turning Trash Into Treasure With Blue Ocean Strategy: Garbage Clinical Insurance (Part 2)

Understanding the Buyer’s Experience in Blue Ocean Strategy gives insights into the pain points of customers and systematically explores the innovative solutions beyond industry boundaries.

In the previous episode, we highlighted how poor waste management in the rural areas of Indonesia was instrumental in people getting exposed to certain diseases. Besides, affordability of basic healthcare services for these people was an issue and affecting daily lives.

In this article, we will discuss how Garbage Clinical Insurance is trying to narrow this gap by offering basic healthcare services in the rural areas at the lowest cost and improving the well-being of society at the same time.

Think Out Of The Box By Offering Basic Healthcare Services In Exchange For Garbage

While studying for his medical degree, Gamal Albinsaid heard stories of how people in rural areas had limited access for medical services. One of the heartbreaking stories was about a young daughter of a garbage scavenger who suffered from diarrhea and eventually passed away because her family could not afford for medical treatment. This played on his mind and he was wondering how to solve the issue. He realized that the only resource these people had was garbage and it was scattered around the places where they lived. He saw an opportunity to transform this undervalued resource (waste) into a valuable healthcare investment.

Since then, improving the health and wellness of people in rural areas became his mission. In 2010, Gamal established Garbage Clinical Insurance (GCI) in Malang, Indonesia where garbage is used as an insurance premium for medical services.

The following is GCI’s healthcare insurance scheme and how it works.

In order to become a member of this scheme, people should make a monthly deposit of garbage worth IDR 10,000 (less than 1USD), equivalent to 5kg of cardboards or 2kg of plastic waste. GCI will then sell the collected solid waste to recycling factories. The money received from the sale of the recycled garbage is used to fund medication/treatment for patients living without proper healthcare and each member is entitled to receive basic health services twice a month at the clinic. Currently, there are 5 panel clinics that are associated with GCI’s health insurance scheme. By utilizing the undervalued resource, GCI provides an affordable healthcare insurance scheme to the un-served and underserved segment of society while contributing to proper solid waste management in rural areas.

Unlock The Universe of Noncustomers

Most companies focus on retaining their existing customers and thus, improving on the existing product line whereas Blue Ocean companies look across boundaries of existing customers and explore new catchment of customers (noncustomers). In Blue Ocean Strategy, there is a framework called the 3 Tiers of Noncustomers. By identifying different tiers of noncustomers in the industry and the commonalities that cut across all these tiers, companies can unlock the untapped demand and reach out to the uncharted market. GCI realized that they found an ocean of demand waiting to be tapped, which was the unserved and underserved noncustomers.

Majority of the unexplored noncustomers earn between $40-$80 a month and live in an unhygienic environment. This program allows them to be protected by insurance for free as they only need to collect garbage accumulated around their housing area and send it to a collection area. In exchange, they will get medical treatment at a much cheaper rate.

By using garbage as the payment for healthcare insurance premium, GCI is catering not only for unexplored noncustomers but also for the household, which is the existing customers in the industry. Households generate solid waste every day and instead of paying to the government for waste disposal, now they can send it to the GCI to be eligible for medical insurance.

On the other hand, it also helps garbage scavengers to fully utilize their resources and trade it for receiving health treatment. Rising demand of this program has resulted in more than 2,000 individual participation and benefited more than 500 families with the affordable healthcare services.

Strategic Breakthrough: Looking Across Alternative Industries

Looking across industries can also create Blue Ocean solutions. In order to provide affordable healthcare services to the people who are neglected in the industry, Gamal looked for solutions not in the healthcare industry but across the waste management and disposal industry. By making use of the most undervalued resource – solid waste – and transforming this resource into a valuable investment, GCI provides an access for people in rural areas to affordable healthcare services that previously has not been thought of.

GCI also offers special services such as home healthcare services for chronic-diseases patients who are unable to visit to the clinic and telemedicine services (health consultancy) via telephone for free.

GCI provides a holistic healthcare treatment through a promotive, preventive and curative approach. It educates people on how to prevent diseases and occasionally conducts health awareness activities to educate specific group of people such as programs on health for pregnant woman and geriatric diseases for elderly people. The clinic also provides post-treatment consultation for the cured patients.

GCI’s brilliant idea is not only addressing problems in the healthcare industry but also improving solid waste disposal processes in Indonesia. It empowers the community to enhance environmental sustainability and the local sanitation by shifting from conventional methods to innovative solid waste disposal solution. Furthermore, it becomes an incentive for people to participate on proper waste management under this program.

With this scheme, organic waste is processed by composting techniques and sold to fertilizer companies while non-organic waste is sold to Malang City Garbage Bank or home-based businesses to create handicrafts from recyclable material. Increasing the economic value of garbage helps the company to generate sustainable revenue to provide health access to the rural community. The innovative GCI program breaks down barriers between accessible healthcare services for the unexplored noncustomers and overcoming solid waste management problems simultaneously.

GCI is one of the few successful companies that resolved sustainability issue in social entrepreneurship by combining innovation with a meaningful purpose. As of 2015, GCI’s profit margin has been steadily growing by 50% in the revenue. The clinic is continuously investing into expansion to other regions in Indonesia. The founder is also providing other innovative complementary services such as Baby Brain Enhancer and Mother Happiness Centers. The success story of GCI proved that Blue Oceans can be created even in the overlooked industries by utilizing undervalued resources to benefit the unserved and underserved noncustomers.

Explore and create your Blue Ocean today!


To read this article, or to check out our other posts on related topics, go to http://bethebos.bosguru.com/.

To read the full HBR article entitled “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, click here.


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