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Book Review: Jugaad Innovation


Name of the book:
Jugaad Innovation:
Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth

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Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu & Simone

Publisher:  Jossey-Bass;
1 edition

Place of Publishing: Haryana

Year of Publication: 2012


of Jugaad

is a word that connotes an alternative fix or an innovative resolution for a
problem. It is an improvisation of a situation usually caused due to lack of
resources or limited answers. Jugaad innovation is basically to be frugal
flexible and intelligent in solving existing issues and problems. It comes from a Hindi
word that connotes an innovative solution .Jugaad is the art of perceiving
opportunities in the most hostile situations and inventively improvising
solutions using simple means. Jugaad is about seeing the glass always
half-full. Almost all Indians practice jugaad to make the most of what they
have. Jugaad flourishes in settings which are severe, economically unstable, culturally
diverse, meager infrastructure and insufficient contact to investment and
skilled labor. But this requires companies to perceive the familiar half-empty
glass as half-full.

and Entrepreneurship:

as a tool paves the way for entrepreneurship in many clever and inventive ways.
In the book, Frugal Innovation, it is shown how several entrepreneurs and
innovators across various emerging economies such as China, Brazil, and who
operated at low costs and sustained on scanty resources, use jugaad to overcome
their problems and innovate solutions. They give the example of Kenya, where
entrepreneurs invented technology for bicycle riders to be able to charge their
phones while pedaling. They also gave the example of entrepreneurs in Peru, that
invented advertising billboards that could convert humid air into potable

will you innovate using the concepts mentioned in the book:

products and ideas can be created using the 6 Principles of Jugaad that are
mentioned in the book that are said to be common to jugaad innovators:

1.     Seek opportunity in
adversity – This means that we must learn to translate
adverse conditions into opportunities to create something new and innovative.
We must treat the bitter trails as blessings and use them as building blocks to
move forward. Jugaad innovators use
harsh situation and constrictions as an opportunity to invent. For instance,
Kanak Das, who lived in a remote village in the north eastern part India got sick
of having to ride his bicycle on the bumpy roads. Instead of complaining, he
converted it into an opportunity and made a device that converted the shocks
into acceleration energy that aided him to ride his bicycle faster. We can use this principle while deciding our B-plan idea by trying to
look for those products that are causing us inconvenience and try to find a a
way around them or try to look for technology that could replace them. In this
way we would translate an adversity into a wonderful opportunity.


2.     Do more with less- Jugaad innovators work with what they’ve got. They invent and create
with the scanty resources that they have at hand. The principle of jugaad
teaches us to optimize the use of financial and physical resources and create
valuable solutions. We can use this
principle of frugal innovation by taking a low cost and flexible approach to
our b plan idea and creating affordable accessible and sustainable solutions
for our problems.


3.     Think and act flexible- To be
successful at using jugaad innovation, it is important to avoid a fixed mindset
and accept a flexible mindset. We must constantly question our surrounding to
look for opportunities to innovate, learn to keep our options open and try to
transform currently existing products and services.


4.     Keep it simple-the practice of jugaad innovation is not about perfection of the product or by overengineering the
product. It is about providing a simple solution that gets the job done. Jugaad
innovators aim to create products that are easy to use and cater to the
customers basic and fundamental needs. This principle can thus be used to fulfill the
basic needs of the consumers through which innovators can cater to a broader
variety of customers and thus be successful in the industry that they operate


5.     Include the margin- The book gives us the example of Dr. Rana Kapoor who managed to successfully
include marginal sections of the society as employees and consumers both. Jugaad
innovators like him prove that including the marginal segments is not only good
as a social cause but also is a great business opportunity. Through this principle we can learn to treat
marginal segments as a whole new section to be catered to with entirely new
products and models. We must use this principle to avoid dumping low quality products
on these sections of the society. We must in turn ideate on those products that
would be able to bring all sections up the Maslow’s need hierarchy theory.

6.     Follow your heart- It is
essential for jugaad innovators go with their instinct and follow their own intuition.
They must not rely on formal research or other groups to make a decision about
a product. They are well aware of their consumers needs and ultimately believe
in following their hearts. What we can replicate from this is to always reply
on our intuition use our gut and intelligence in innovating breakthrough
products and making a difference in the lives of the people they serve.


Learnings from the book:

As the picture of global business becomes exponentially
competitive and diverse it is important for businessmen, entrepreneurs and
corporations to drive growth and innovation in their work units. One of the
major driving forces in the people that head these corporations and businesses
is innovation. The book shows how entrepreneurs and corporations can no longer
depend on old methods of innovation and creation and that they must look to
smaller emerging economies where a different bottom-up approach is used in the
form of frugal and flexible innovation.

The learning from this book was that jugaad innovation is fundamentally
a lot more customer based than traditional innovation. This is because jugaad
innovators try to cater to solve the problems of the customer and then develop
a sustainable solution. Jugaad is also more market based rather than being product
based or technology based in its approach. This makes their products more
appealing to a wider range of customers. Also, jugaad innovation is more flexible
in nature so they can customize their products and business models to the limitations
of their consumers.

Jugaad is primarily based on demand. It uses resourcing or
costs and other sources to provide higher value to their customers. It is
essential for innovators to deliver products and services that fulfill the
needs of customers based on three values- sustainability, quality and
affordability. It is thus this centrality of the customers, even in simple
processes such as deciding whether the product price is affordable enough or
not, is what drives innovation at a faster pace.

the perspective of being an intrapreneur it is essential to remember that it is
not possible to import jugaad into your organization. It starts from employing
people that have a jugaad mindset and outlook towards problems. It is often a
bottom up approach rather than top-down and involves more people beyond those employees
who are usually associated with the innovation process. It then translates into
empowering smaller teams at all different layers of the company consistently with
a bottom-up approach. This makes it possible for a certain level of creative
space in the organization and leads to serendipitous learning in the organization. As an intrapreneur, you must be able to unleash the creativity
of all your employees, partners and consumers. The strength of jugaad
innovation is based on being able to bring out more from less, constantly
experimentation and to channel the creativity of those who are usually left out
in the process

A lot of western companies tend to overengineer their
products to perfect them. But jugaad innovation teaches us to focus on the real
needs of the customer and do what is essentially required for the fundamental
and basic product requirements.

Before I read this book, I was under the impression that
jugaad is for smaller companies who lack resources and who couldn’t afford
things, this book showed me that companies from the Fortune 500 companies use
the same principles of jugaad innovation to harness innovation in their
company. Companies like Facebook, Google, Philips, PepsiCo, Siemens, Suzlon and
Yes Bank to prove to us that frugal innovation and jugaad maybe the way ahead
for us all.











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