Amazing teamwork without technology: the dabbawala collective

The Economist, July 16th 2008, reports on “The cult of the dabbawala” a 5000 strong collective who are the direct descendants of a 17th century Indian warrior king. The dabbawalla have developed a fantastic reputation for organisational excellence and amazing teamwork all based on a collective leadership model without the need for any technology!

The dabbawala collective

The article comments:

“Most of our modern business education is about analytic models, technology and efficient business practices,” he says. The dabbawalas, by contrast, focus more on “human and social ingenuity”

The dabbawalas, who all receive the same pay, are also seen as paragons of “bottom up” social entrepreneurship.

To read the full article

Visit the dabbawala website

Many Thanks to Ben Peachey of ICMM for spotting this.

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Ken, there was a great BBC Radio 4 programme about this roughly 2 years ago. I don't remember whether this group was mentioned, but the prog was about the preparation and delivery of tiffin boxes, so they probably were. Thanks for posting this - v interesting.

Nice one. I picked up on this system through an article in the FT last year some time. I remember that Harvard Business School published a case study and that a number of the dabbawalla are regulars at international conferences on supply chain logistics.


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