Do you have a Jugaad?

29 Apr


In other words, how to turn lack of resources into an advantage?

The Economist has recently published a special report on innovation in emerging markets. I had a chance to discuss it with an alumnus of AIESEC India who is now doing his MBA in LBS and he told me more about the concept of Jugaad.

Jugaad basically means a solution in Hindi or as The Economist puts it – making a do with what you have and never giving up. Indians are often faced with lot of resources constraints but most of the times they manage to overcome them by radically reengineering the process or the final product.

This phenomena is starting to be called a frugal – constraint-based – innovation and jugaad is starting to be coined as a management term. The Economist compares this to a nowadays equivalent to the introduction of mass production by Ford at the beginning of the 20th century or to the ‘lean’ revolution which took place in Japan in the 1970’s.

So next time you are faced with lack of resources to realize your idea, what is going to be your Jugaad?

Just for illustration:

A good example of frugal innovation is Tata Nano. A bunch of recently graduated engineers who have never build a car before was asked to design one. The result was the world’s cheapest car.

There is quite a lot of leg space actually… :)

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