Innovative Publishing

Six challenges that Juggernaut, the phone-based publishing company, must overcome

Changing the publishing game also means having to acquire new competencies and managing by metrics.

Sunny Leone has probably never faced such a challenge in her life. Being at the vanguard of Juggernaut’s audacious new publishing venture – all you can read, but on a smartphone app – she will now show the way for whether the company set up by Chiki Sarkar with Durga Raghunath will be a success.

The environment seems ripe enough. David Limp, senior vice president for devices of told Mint that some three million Kindle e-books are now available in India. And that the combined readers and e-books business grew 200 per cent in 2015. While this establishes a growing culture of e-reading, the established base of smartphones in India – 200 million and counting – means that the potential for phone-reading is enormous.

“The good thing about the digital model is that your path to profitability is definitely quicker, because you are not spending money every time your book gets downloaded,” Juggernaut’s CEO Raghunath, said to Mint. "So immediately your economics has become more streamlined."

The walk from economic logic to real-life profits may be a long one though. There are several problems to be confronted along the way, and some are quite basic. I worked with India’s first e-reader, Wink, produced by EC Media – which didn’t succeed. Juggernaut could face the same pitfalls:

Finding content for people in a hurry
The books will have to suit the delivery model, which targets a class of readers who are mostly on the go and may never read at home or at leisure. This in turn may mean saying goodbye to what books have always stood for and moving to easier-to-read (“dumbed down”, the unkind might say) content. It is difficult to see narrative non-fiction or literary fiction being read on the app.

Keeping pace with technology
The traditional book has been fortunate in not having to deal with constant technological changes. Production and printing processes have evolved, but the reading process, not so much. However, a publishing company built around app-based consumption will have to keep investing in improving, modifying and feature-enriching its offering just to keep pace.

Said Saugata Mukherjee, former publisher at Pan Macmillan India, “Unless Juggernaut works towards becoming a technology company, it will be tough to keep up with the digital medium. Also, it should not fight the publishing battle. To succeed it needs to fight the likes of Youtube and Facebook.”

Becoming the Buzzfeed of books
There’s a very real danger that, in the battle to capture the reader’s attention in the jungle that is infotainment today, even a book-publisher will have to resort to clickbait, shareability, social media-dependence, and other forms of external attraction to even ensure sampling. Is the media-like interface of the Juggernaut app a pointer in that direction?

Ruled by metrics, not just editorial strategy
As on an online site or app, the consumer response to each book can also be tracked on a real-time basis. How many people are reading a sample of this book? How many are buying that one? Who’s reading the romances and who, the thrillers? If the focus of what to display and what to highlight shifts to consumer behaviour rather than the editors’ faith or reasoning, will the lowest common denominator dictate terms?

The Kindle’s already out there
Although Amazon won’t reveal just how many Kindle readers it has in India – between the device and the app – the installed base is obviously huge. And since Juggernaut is choosing to make readers come to its app instead of cashing in on Kindle users, this might make the task harder. After all, starting with a zero base of users makes the journey uphill for quite some time.

But this particular contest really goes to the heart of the matter. For, Juggernaut is betting that a huge majority of the readers it wants to acquire do not read the current crop of books in the market, whether they’re available on the Kindle or not. Might they still be tempted to put their books on the Kindle platform too?

Does phone-reading even work?
Scrolling through a newsfeed is one thing. But a long read – and yes, even 15,000 words is long by the standards of smartphone users – needs a screen that protects the eyes. This is where the phone may lag behind – geared as it is to be a multimedia device, for videos, games, photographs, and music, it isn’t the best device to read on as far as comfort for the eyes is concerned.

Moreover, the smartphone is inherently a multi-tasking device, which makes it difficult for a reader to concentrate long enough on the screen with the book. Facebook and Instagram are just a swipe away, after all.

Still, if – or once – Juggernaut succeeds, there are bound to be others in the business. What will this new version of publishing look like? Ravi Singh, publisher, Speaking Tiger Book, summed it up: “Publishing exclusively, or primarily, for smartphones and tablets isn’t new even for India, but nothing’s been tried with the level of professionalism and planning that Juggernaut is bringing to the venture. This won’t displace existing publishing models – I don’t think that’s the intention, either. It will provide an additional way to create and sell written content, and of course to buy and read it. My guess is that content will have to become even shorter, sharper, and the list will have to be fairly large. That would be the main challenge.”

It’s more than the future of a start-up that’s at stake here. It’s the fundamental reading habit of the Indian that’s being tested to see if it can sustain a business model and, even, an entire industry.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Transforming patient care by managing talent better

Active leadership roles by physicians, innovative human resource strategies and a strong organizational culture can bridge the talent gap in healthcare.

Attracting and retaining talent is a challenge for many industries – however for the healthcare industry, the problem is compounded by acute shortage of skilled professionals. India has a ratio of 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000 people as against the WHO ideal average of 2.5 each of doctors and nurses per 1,000 people. This reflects the immense human resource challenge in the Indian healthcare industry.

So, what can hospitals do to retain and groom the existing talent? How can a clear leadership vision motivate healthcare professionals to perform better? These were among the questions addressed at the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. The panel focused on three key aspects: leadership, talent retention and organisational culture.

Role of leadership

Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and Faculty at Stanford Business School, spoke at length about the role of strong leadership in human resource and talent management. He began by defining the role of a leader. In this video, Dr. Pearl describes a leader as someone who motivates others by setting a strong vision.


According to Dr. Pearl, for a leader to craft such a vision and motivate others to work towards it, he or she would require certain qualities. These include empathy, good communication and ability to make quick decisions, stay calm under stress, multitask, and take responsibility - qualities that physicians typically possess by virtue of their profession. He thus urged doctors and physicians to play a greater role in leading their institutions.

His view is supported by research - a report in a Harvard Business Review says that physician-run hospitals scored 25% higher in quality rankings across geographies over hospitals run by professionals from non-medical backgrounds.

Dr. Pearl says, a leader who is also a physician is in a better position to set benchmarks for other professionals. Setting benchmarks would also mean setting an example for organizational behavior, culture and thought process. Many studies have examined the influence of a leader on his organization’s culture. This is expressed well by Dr Larry Senn’s concept ‘Shadow of the leader’ which emphasizes that the kind of ‘shadow’ a leader casts across the organization impacts how the employees think, behave and work. Thus, it is all the more important for physicians to get involved in hospital leadership.

Managing and retaining talent

One of the key responsibilities of leadership is to also manage and retain good talent. According to Dr. Pearl, one way of optimizing talent is by making efficient use of human resources.

A study by Tuck’s Centre for Global Leadership of nine Indian hospitals reiterates this. It shows that the strategy of ‘task shifting’ or the transfer of routine tasks to lower-skilled workers left specialists free to handle more complicated procedures. The result – more productive doctors performing five to six surgeries per hour.

Attracting and retaining talent was also a major topic of discussion in the panel discussion on ‘Transforming the talent ecosystem’ at the HLS summit. Some of the panelists believed that exposing professionals to areas that go beyond their core skills, such as strategy and analytics, could play a significant role in retaining talent. This would ensure constant opportunities for learning and growth and also answer the hospitals’ growing need for professionals from management backgrounds.

Dr Nandakumar Jairam, Group Director – Columbia Asia pointed out that hospitals need to look at people with soft skills such as empathy, ability to listen well, etc. So, while hospitals expand their recruitment pool and look to other industries for recruiting people, they should also train their existing staff in these skills.


The NYC Health + Hospitals in the U.S, a winner of the ‘Training Top 125’ 2017, is an example of how effective employee training can help achieve corporate goals. Its training programs span a range of skills - from medical simulations to language interpretation, leadership development and managing public health threats, thus giving its employees the opportunity to learn and grow within and outside their disciplines.

Reaching out to premier medical institutes in various ways also helps attract and retain talented professionals. Sir Gangaram Hospital in New Delhi, has emerged to be an attractive employer due its credibility in the medical research space. Their Department of Research aims to facilitate high quality, patient centric research and promotes laboratory based investigations across various disciplines, also assisting clinicians in pursuing projects.

Organizational culture and progressive HR policies

Rajit Mehta, CEO, Max Healthcare, also talked about the importance of having a conducive organizational culture that keeps the workforce together and motivates them to perform better. Every aspect of the organizational functioning reflects its culture – whether it’s staff behavior or communication – and culture stems from alignment with a strong leadership vision.

Organizational culture is also about incentivizing the workforce through performance rewards and employee-friendly HR policies. For example, at a popular healthcare facility in the US, all the 3,600 employees are actively encouraged to stay fit – they can buy fresh fruits and vegetables while at work, get healthy cooking tips from demonstrations in the office kitchen and enjoy free massages at their office chairs.

A report also talks about how some hospitals in the US inducted their employees into therapeutic activities like knitting, meditation etc., as part of their efforts to help them cope with stress. Some hospitals also have designated areas with amenities for staff members to relax and recoup.

Back home, Sir Gangaram Hospital recently helped its employees during the cash-crunched phase following demonetization by distributing currency notes to all. Such initiatives help establish trust and goodwill among the workforce.

Fostering a good culture is crucial for employee engagement. An engaged employee is one who is committed to the organisation’s goals and values and is motivated to give his or her best to the organisation’s success. Employee engagement has direct impact on hospital system health outcomes. According to a review of engagement and clinical outcomes at the National Health Service (NHS) in England, for every 10% increase in engagement there was a reduction in MRSA, a life-threatening skin infection, by .057 cases per 10,000 bed days. Additionally, a one standard deviation improvement in engagement reduced mortality by 2.4 percentage points.

It is however tough to gauge employee engagement and implement policies to improve it. As per an HRsoft study, more than 90% of managers or CEOs believe an engagement strategy is important for the organisation’s success but only 30% actually have one. The infographic below provides a useful starting point for managers to develop a strategy of their own.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services. Additionally, in more than 25 countries Abbott is recognized as a leading employer in country and a great place to work.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.