Indian American Demography, Values, and Attitudes 

Indian Americans

image: Danny Howard (flickr)

One of the fastest-growing ethnic minorities in the US in recent decades has also been one of the most successful: Indian Americans. Now more than 3 million strong, Indian Americans are the third largest cohort of Asian Americans in the US.(1)

With the vast majority of Indian Americans born outside of the US, the Indian-American population is still made up primarily of immigrants-and most of these immigrated within the last 25 years. Unlike many immigrant groups, who tend to settle in enclaves on either the East or West coast, however, Indian-Americans are dispersed throughout the country.

While still a relatively small contingent, accounting for just about 1% of the US population, Indian Americans have quickly become disproportionately influential in such fields as digital technology, science, engineering, medicine, and academia. Better educated and better off financially than any other immigrant group, Indian Americans have become the richest and most successful ethnic cohort in the US.

Indra Nooyi

image: JeffBedford (Flickr)

Taking Charge

By 2014, nine Fortune 500 companies had Indian American CEOs.(2) Prominent Indian American business leaders include Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo (pictured right); Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Ajay Banga, head of MasterCard; Ravichandra Saligram, CEO of OfficeMax; and Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems.

Well Off

Because such a high percentage of Indian Americans work in high paying professions, they have the highest income among all immigrant and ethnic groups in the US–and a higher income than most Americans. In 2010, the median annual personal earnings of full-time Indian-American workers was $65,000, compared to $40,000 among all US full-time workers. At a household level, Indian-Americans had a median annual household income of $88,000 in 2010–33% higher than that of all Asian Americans and 77% higher than the median income of US households as a whole ($49,800).(3)

Life in America

The vast majority of Indian Americans have come to the US just within the last generation in order to find better opportunities. Most have in fact found a better life in the US, and are satisfied overall with their lives and their new home.

A 2012 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than seven of 10 Indian-American immigrants came to the US seeking greater opportunities–reasons cited by just under half of Asian Americans overall. Specifically, Indian Americans cited the following reasons for their migration:

  • Educational opportunity: 37%, compared to 28% of all Asian Americans
  • Economic opportunity: 34%, nearly twice the share of all Asian Americans (21%)
  • Family reasons, including family reunification: 18%, a far smaller share than all Asian Americans (31%)
  • Escape persecution: 2%, far fewer than the Asian-American average of 9%
  • Some other reason: 9%
New generation

image: Alan C. (Flickr)

Family Comes First

Family is of supreme importance to most Indian Americans. Nearly four of five (78%), for example, say that being a good parent is one of the most important things in their lives. That’s a significantly higher share than among either Asian Americans (67%) or the overall US population (50%). And 64%-nearly twice the overall US rate of 34% (and also more than the 54% of all Asian Americans)–say that having a successful marriage is very important.


1 “Indian-Americans Form 3rd Largest Asian Population in US,” India Times, April 24, 2014,

2 Palash Ghosh, “The Rise of Indian-Americans in US Business,” International Business Times, March 10, 2014,

3 “The Rise of Asian Americans,” Pew Research Center, April 4, 2013,

Future in Focus recently published two reports devoted to the influential, prosperous, and rapidly growing Indian American population, exploring the demographics of this community in the US, as well as examining Indian American opinions on the US, on family and work life, on their relationships with other groups, and on politics. For more information on these reports, email us.

Ride that Wave of Disruption!

Fred Moore

Imagine a surfer atop his board, rising above the wave. He is being propelled forward by powerful forces. However, he doesn’t resist or fight back against the wave. He knows that’s impossible. Instead, he embraces the wave to maintain control of his board and uses the force of the wave to move himself in a particular direction.

Leaders often find themselves unwillingly pushed by strong forces around them – from changing workforce demographics to shifting consumer behaviors to disruptive technologies – but great leaders don’t fight the disruption, they embrace it.

Great leaders, like great surfers, know how to harness powerful waves and pivot in the direction that they want and need to go. Great leaders can spot the waves of disruption coming, and ride them to success… or bail out before they hit.

How can one learn to see and ride these waves? By applying foresight to everyday challenges.

  • Explore the Future – The pace of change today is relentless, which is why leaders need the ability to track, identify, and understand the changing social, business, and technological landscape. Scanning for trends is the first step in the process. And it’s critical to understand not just what is happening, but also why they are happening, looking at the underlying drivers such as shifts in consumer values and attitudes.
  • Map the Future – When meteorologists project the path of a hurricane, they don’t draw a straight line, they draw a funnel to show where the storm could go. Likewise, it’s impossible to predict the future, but we can map potential futures. The value of mapping the future is to see what’s possible, and plausible, and to spot emerging challenges and opportunities.
  • Create the Future – With a roadmap in hand, it’s now possible to decide which future is preferable, and what course of action to take that will get us there.

However, riding the wave is easier said than done.

This is why we’ve created The Futures School, a unique, immersive and hands-on 3-day program that has taught leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs from 23 countries the tools needed to successfully EXPLORE, MAP, and CREATE the future.

Our spring cohort is forming now, and will convene May 5th-7th, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Visit our website to receive more information and register to be a part of this exciting and empowering event.

3 Emerging Technologies for 2015—& How to Profit from Them

Originally published at 1776 News

Many long-awaited technologies are set to finally arrive this year. They offer businesses and consumers a wide range of new opportunities for better health, happiness and wisdom in 2015.

Here are a few to watch:


2015 will be the year of personal health devices. The FitBit, Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up helped consumers track their physical activities, and now manufacturers will release a slew of new devices to help consumers track and monitor their health. These smartphone-enabled devices will measure vital signs, and even perform medical diagnostics from urine, blood and saliva samples.

Millennials likely will drive adoption of these devices as they seek to better quantify their own health and demand more control over their healthcare options. The Cue has been touted as a “lab-in-a-box” that can help users understand their bodies on a molecular level and provide recommendations to optimize health outcomes. The Scanadu Scout has been likened to the StarTrek Tricorder, as it promises to monitor several vital signs and even diagnose several health conditions.

Devices that empower consumers with real-time health monitoring can create a revolution in healthcare as consumers focus more attention on prevention and health maintenance. Devices to provide round-the-clock health monitoring of babies will also gain traction. Much of this monitoring will take place in the home and health monitoring devices will become part of the home’s new information infrastructure.

Business Opportunities:

  • Developing health apps that integrate and synthesize data from multiple devices
  • Introducing gamification concepts to health apps and creating a rewards ecosystem to encourage and promote healthy behaviors
  • Creating online communities for people to share and analyze their health data
  • Connecting patients at home seamlessly with a physician or nurse to interpret diagnostic results via telemedicine apps
  • Creating apps that help users monitor and cope with stress and anxiety
  • Developing systems to monitor the spread of diseases in real-time
  • Designing home and office storage units for medical health devices
  • Designing a health monitoring station specifically geared toward new parents


A number of virtual reality headsets will be released this year for consumer entertainment. The ones that have gained the most awareness are Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR, and Sony’s Project Morpheus. VR headsets will offer consumers more interactive gaming experiences, as well as the opportunity to immerse themselves in other worlds from within the comfort of their homes.

There are also a wide range of applications for other spaces as well. Schools could use VR headsets to take students on virtual tours of museums or even witness a civil war battle like never before. A football coach could take his players back through a game to help them pinpoint an error—from the perspective of any player on the field. Real estate agents could give virtual property tours and a manufacturing company could do formal employee training in a virtual facility.

Augmented Reality devices, unlike their VR brethren, work by displaying information over a real world environment.  Google Glass captures the lion’s share of attention in this space, but many AR applications are using non-wearable devices to project graphics onto the natural world or use cameras on smartphones and tablets to display an augmented reality. Look for interactive displays at retailers to become more prevalent. An empty wall, floor or ceiling could be entirely reimagined.

Business Opportunities:

  • Filming scenes to create new VR environments (the equivalent of Google street view for VR)
  • Creating the 3-D cameras necessary to film these environments
  • Developing the app store for VR and AR applications
  • Offering the creation of VR environments as a service
  • Creating eye-tracking and eye-control systems that integrate with AR
  • Developing new gestural interfaces for users
  • Creating apps to integrate wearable data with the virtual world (e.g. games that know when you’re scared or a virtual yoga studio that knows when you’re calm)
  • Creating the next platform for DIY projects (e.g. step-by-step instructions on how to change a car battery, make beef stew or even build a cabinet)


The vast majority of the 10 to 15 billion objects connected to the Internet today are smartphones, tablets, PCs and industrial equipment. About 20 percent of the connected devices are the “things” we hear about that will make up the “Internet of Everything.” Over the next five years, that ratio will flip: The vast majority of connected devices will become everyday objects, from outlets to auto parts.

The introduction of these devices into our homes, offices, vehicles and even unexpected places will help us paint pictures of our lives in ways never seen before. These devices will leave data trails about everything from our consumption habits and health activities to work and leisure. Consumers will get a better sense of the way they use resources; they will have more control over their environments; and they will find new opportunities to improve their health, wealth and happiness.

Consumers will likely eschew privacy concerns for the convenience that many of the devices offer, but be prepared for a backlash if sensitive data leaks out.

Business Opportunities:

  • As more data is generated, helping consumers and businesses visualize data will be a growing opportunity
  • Developing new apps to integrate all types of devices into a unified platform
  • Transforming pure product plays to service businesses (e.g. from selling glucose monitor products to selling glucose monitoring as a service)
  • Selling conservation as a service. As businesses get more insight into their consumption, they are likely to pay a percentage of what they save to do so
  • Helping companies increase their product transparency through tracking from raw ingredients to final product (e.g. the origin of every ingredient in a snack bar to prove it contains no genetically modified organisms and perhaps beefing up certifications through data trails)
  • Finding niche areas that will need help analyzing copious amounts of data
  • Teaching and training workforces to sort and parse the reams of data being generated to find what is needed or usable

These are just a handful of the emerging opportunities we’re seeing. What do you think?

@MikeVidikan, Future in Focus

Microsoft Now Accepts Bitcoin

Gastev flickr

Today Microsoft officially joined the list of companies accepting Bitcoin payments.

According to BitPay chief commercial officer Sonny Singh,

“Microsoft has a long-term vision for bitcoin, BitPay and the blockchain. Starting with digital goods in the US is the logical first step, however, they want to expand to Europe and globally and add support for other products as part of that rollout.”

This could be a major event that pushes others to accept Bitcoin payments and propels the cryptocurrency toward mainstream acceptance. At the very least, in the immediate future, others may join suit just for the free press.

In lieu of these events, I bought $1000 worth of Bitcoin. I can’t recommend it as an investment, but I’m comfortable holding it for a while.

@MikeVidikan, Future in Focus

Save your Business by Destroying it

The military have long used “red teams” to test their battle strategies and defenses. Corporations have used this technique more recently to test IT infrastructure against cyber-attacks. But what if you created a team to figure out ways to put the entire company out of business? Would your leadership appreciate your ideas and move quickly to counter these potential threats, or would they toss the report, bury their heads, and maintain the status quo?

It’s quite clear that we’re in the midst of a global economic transformation. Real-time sharing of information is speeding up the pace of innovation across all industries. Hundreds of millions in developing countries are rising out of poverty to join the middle class faster than ever before. Scrappy startups are taking advantage of reduced barriers to entry offered by the Internet and mobile platforms to disrupt Fortune 500 businesses.

In order the survive and thrive, businesses need to understand where disruption is coming from and how to harness it. Figuring out what could kill your business might be the only real way to save it. Here are some steps to help.

First, identify emerging technologies such as 3D printing, virtual reality, UAVs, and other emerging platforms, and explore how they are changing the business landscape and changing consumer behaviors. Which technologies pose the biggest threat to your company and industry?

Second, identify trends and factors shaping consumer lifestyles such as the increase in responsible consumption, the sharing economy, and the rise of women in society. Which trends could threaten your growth opportunities?

Finally, merge the two to see how emerging technologies will play off consumer trends or how consumer values will impact the way technology is adopted to see what these changes could mean for society and for your business.

What you find might scare you and your executive leadership, but great challenges also present great opportunities.

@MikeVidikan, Future in Focus

The Video Cassette Label #TBT

cassette labelOn my night stand, there’s a stack of old sci-fi books I borrowed from a well-read friend. I had just opened Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980) by Frederik Pohl. Tucked in the pages was this makeshift bookmark. I turned to my wife excitedly and showed her my discovery.

We then took a trip down memory lane reminiscing about recording with VHS tapes, the limitations of recording for 2 hours, swapping out tapes to record longer movies (and inevitably losing an important scene), the tragedy of learning a program was taped over (and then needing to wait a year for the reruns), the joy of acquiring a second VHS recorder so you could now record 2 programs at once (winning!), and the now necessary task of throwing out our VHS tape collection (someday).

The video cassette label is a simple reminder of how much consumer lifestyles can be impacted by new technologies.


@MikeVidikan, Future in Focus

Time for a Life Hack Backlash?

There seems to be an opportunity for companies to make fun of Lifehacking. Lifehacking is all about improving efficiency and finding shortcuts to be more productive. There are all sorts of blogs devoted to this subject and thousands of images on Pinterest that share ingenious tips and tricks. Lifehacking is closely related to the DIY movement as it offers tips on making everything from homemade zit creams and bleach wipes to storing onions in pantyhose to extend shelf life.

I recently came across this Lifehacking Internet gem:

“Keep cake moist by just eating the entire thing in one sitting.”

life hack cake

It occurred to me that some companies could take this opportunity to show Lifehacking gone wrong and suggest to consumers that it would just be easier and safer to use their product. Or suggest that savings from all that DIY could be used to splurge on a vacation or luxury good. It’s important to remember not to attack the DIY movement, just help consumers laugh at its eccentricities. Laugh with them, not at them.

Let me know if you can think of any good examples for this.

@MikeVidikan, Future in Focus