Wondering what ‘Jugaad’ is, right?? It’s a buzzword in modern use which is easily misunderstood by common people.
Jugaad is colloquial Hindi (Indian language) for an innovative fix or improvised solution which simply needs creativity and imagination rather than expensive experiments. Other countries have their own terms. In Brazil it’s called jetino, which means to make a way. It is genuine creativity performed with cleverness i.e doing more with less. Simply put, it’s a quick workaround to get through commercial, logistic or law issues and not with bribery and manipulation.
So why am I talking about Jugaad? Unlike others, Friday was a hectic day for me as I had a 7 AM flight to catch for a day meeting and then 7 PM flight back home which explains my most recent “biz book” purchase from airport bookshop (a guilty addiction) – Jugaad Innovation.
We all need innovation that is faster, adventurous, able to do more with less and reflect the realities of today’s economic environment. Technology has become obsessed with innovation and “out of the box” thinking and there are companies that make a living on developing such products/services. Even primary and secondary schools hold contests while companies are hosting events for the same. I am totally awed by Google who inspire younger generation to such as Google Science Fair where recently Brittany Wenger, a 17-year-old, who built a computer program to diagnose breast cancer. Ofcourse, not a Jugaad but surely an innovative approach. Google RISE is another such platform.
America spent $550 billion on innovation alone last year. In the future, we won’t be able to afford to continue that. Scarcity is the mother of invention. Enter Jugaad innovation. With the drying up of capital, stagnating economy and increased competition from emerging economies, we can’t afford funding our old way of innovating. Jugaad innovation is innovation which does the exact opposite of the managed innovation of the West. It’s nimble, flexible, frugal, DIY, works closely with consumer groups and is inclusive. It helps products in emerging markets emerge–it’s a veritable midwife of ingenuity.
Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, says his mantra for success in this new world which he believes aligns with jugaad innovation is: “Be purpose inspired; change comes from the edge; devote yourself to world-changing ideas; emotion leads to action; creativity overcomes scarcity; in tough times you need to win ugly.”
Jugaad can happen anywhere. M-Pesa is an amazing example of a truly transformative innovation in Africa where number of people don’t have bank accounts but they have mobile phones. M-Pesa enables them to do is things that people who have bank accounts take for granted, which is sending money, receiving money, saving money, and spending money.
Since I’m a person who avoids making big changes, I wasn’t expecting to like this book. I love it! It challenged my thinking in a way that nothing has for a very long time. The insights into frugal innovation are wonderful, but the motivation you get from, “If they can do it, so can I!” is priceless.
As the adage goes “A knife in the hands of a thief is dangerous but in the hands of a surgeon is reassuring.” so is the case with Jugaad. It’s the mindset one should look at and focus on the positive, the ones that can make a change.
Check out some amazing innovations from India: http://ibnlive.in.com/photogallery/7102.html#7102-1.html
Please Note: Your perspective might be skewed if you have read “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business” or other prominent book on innovation. This book is an energetic and complelling read for someone new to this buzzword.