jugaad – I

I’m convinced that innovation sits deep in dearth. Fewer resources force you to use them in the most efficient and sustainable way. Deep adversity gives rise to jugaad, which is a term thrown around very commonly in India. It is one word that describes a gutsy on-the-roll-off-the-cuff ingenious solution to a problem at hand. Indians seem to swear by it. You can find it in any house to a cycle/shoe repair or a curio-shop. The scale changes, the purpose changes, but jugaad is always original, and uses minimum time and resources to arrive at a solution. The more I thought about it, the more I started noticing it everywhere, and the more I got convinced about reading Simone-Jaideep-Navi’s “Jugaad Innovation”.

In their book, they convincingly argue that jugaad has 6 principals :

  • It seeks opportunity in adversity
  • It does more with less
  • It lets you think and act flexibly
  • It includes the margins and is equitable
  • It is simple
  • It stems from passion

Maybe there is a need to learn more from contexts that have less resources and do more jugaad – in turn giving rise to solutions that are contextual, and in most cases are more ‘green’.

But can jugaad not be scaled up? Can bigger institutions, and agencies incorporate it? Or do they already? And shouldn’t they? How well does it score against structured innovation? These are questions I’d try and come back to shortly in following posts.


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