It is often said that Necessity is the mother of Invention,but a lesser known fact is that Scarcity is the mother of Innovation. When thereis a problem to be solved complemented by lack of resources, what can one dobut not look for ways to find an innovative & creative solution or a ‘hack’to create an equilibrium between the need to fulfil the necessity within thelimited resources. This is where the concept of Jugaad comes into picture.Jugaad is a Hindi term which captures the meaning of findingimprovised solutions born from ingenuity and cleverness that can possibly turnadversity into opportunity.
It essentially implies arranging for something thatwill help accomplish a particular task. Jugaad means thinking in a way that isfrugal and flexible, which requires an innovator to quickly adapt to unforeseencircumstances in an intelligent way that is good enough to get the job done.The authors of the book ‘Jugaad Innovation’, Navi Radjou,Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja explain that jugaad is the attitude that withutmost determination, one can find a low cost solution to any problem bythinking constructively about strategy & innovation and can do almostanything with almost nothing. They also tell how this approach is not only adoptedby those who cannot afford it but also by the top companies to see how theyleverage these principles to drive innovation in a resource strapped world. Thisbook journeys through the most innovative initiatives taken up by markets ofthe emerging countries and how this concept is not only associated with theIndian entrepreneurs but also has a distinguished identity in the Westerncountries. Entrepreneurs and Product Developers face a number ofchallenges but one challenge that is everlasting is Complexity and its variouscomponents such as Scarcity, Diversity, Interconnectivity, Velocity andBreakneck Globalisation. These challenging circumstances will surely be facedby us also while making a Business Plan but we can seek solutions to theseproblems from the Six Principles that distinguish the Jugaad mind set whichare: 1.
Seek Opportunityin AdversityBusinesses indeveloping countries with harsh constraints such as poor infrastructure, strictregulations and poor purchasing power of population need to seek opportunity insuch conditions. Having an ability to reframe adversity in such a way that itacts as a source of growth is important for the survival of any organisation.Companies like 3M are capturing big opportunities in extremely adverse businessenvironment by rekindling the spirit of jugaad of its employees.
2. Do more with LessInnovatorsneed to be resourceful in the face of scarcity and need to work with what theyhave got. The R&D approach followed in the West is a striking contrast tothis approach as they believe in ‘More with More’ which has resulted inproducts which are costly to make.
This principle in particular helps firms inboth emerging as well as developed economies to optimise the use of limitedresources to create products that are cheaper, faster and better.3. Think andAct FlexiblyThisis a complete opposite approach to the structured processes and the traditionalways of doing business. Innovators need to constantly keep questioning and keepall options open so that they can quickly respond to unexpected changes thattake place in their business environment. It is essential to instantly come upwith solutions to such changes or problems because if they are not dealtproperly, then it may become a major threat to the organisation.4. Keep itSimpleCreativesimplicity is the key principle to Jugaad.
It is important to make simpleproducts rather than to cram more technology and features into a single productjust for the sake of out-innovating the competitors. Big companies are creatingsimple products which are accessible and easy to use by a large number ofusers. In a world where everyone wishes to keep almost everything handy, it isvery difficult to follow the principle of simplicity because companies want togive customers the maximum they can in order to fulfil their maximum needs.5. Includethe MarginOneunderlying characteristic of business is to earn profits by providing value tothat set of customers who can very well afford it. But entrepreneurs should notforget Inclusion of the marginal and the undeserved customers by designingproducts and services in such a manner which is affordable to the poor. Itgives entrepreneurs huge potential to tap the untapped customers and make a bigmove in such markets.
6. Followyour HeartThelast principle which holds utmost importance is to follow your heart. It meansone should do something in their area of interest, something which they arepassionate about and have the urge or the drive in them to achieve something.It means relying on intuition to develop products, looking at qualities likeempathy which are as important as analytical thinking and then coming up withan idea they strongly believe in. This can be one of the easiest and one of themost difficult principle for one to follow as it is not easy for a person tosimply go with the flow or go with what their heart says.
But if one has hisbelief in it, it can do wonders.Overall, it is very important to be able to identify aproblem, look at it as an opportunity, make the most out of the availableresources, be constantly up to date with the changing circumstances, make surethat you give back something to the society & the shareholders or ownersand most importantly, have enough passion to stick to what you’re doing your heart. The authors have not failed to cite as many examples aspossible in each and every situation to explain every concept & constructand to support even the smallest of details that explains the total effect ofJugaad and Innovation. It tells which companies have followed these principles,which companies faced which challenges and how they were able to implement andsucceed in their doings.Jugaad pushes an entrepreneur to make the most of theresources available, whether it is capital, physical resources, expertise orknowledge by constantly thinking, rethinking and moulding things in such amanner that optimises use of each one of these resources.
It is by carefully understandingthe implication & importance of the Principles of Jugaad in a particularbusiness, can an entrepreneur develop strategies that are essential for thesurvival and growth of the business.As an entrepreneur who is beginning with her Business Plan,I had thought it will be really difficult to think of a business idea and thevarious complexities related to it, but after reading this book I realised thatif proper attention is paid to the important things and if resources are put touse in an effective manner, then one carry out their business with ease. Notonly this, but I realised how important it is to follow your heart and go withwhat your instinct and intuition says. I am sure these six principles of Jugaadare going to help me cope up with the emerging difficulties that I and mymembers are going to face as we go down the road while making our B-Plan.
The significant learnings that I found from the book are thatit is important to be purpose-inspired, devote yourself to world changing ideas,remember that emotion leads to action and creativity overcomes scarcity. Jugaad& Innovation is a practice that everyone irrespective of the country or thetype of organisation should practice and get used to and there is a need tostop over engineering products that add features which the consumers anyway don’tuse but end up driving up the cost.This book throws light on a lot of topics which helps peoplelike us who are grassroot entrepreneurs or those who have ideas or theresources but are struggling with certain problems or situations. For a primer,it tells how to be resourceful with scarce resources. Also, not only is thisbook useful for Entrepreneurs, but also gives insights to Intrapreneurs.
It isequally useful for someone who is inside the company as it is for someone whooperates from the outside. It is an eye opener for the well-established and the multi-millionairecompanies on how to twist their approach towards various business problems andhow to create more with less rather than creating more with more. There is aneed to come up with simple products that can meet most of people’s needs in anaccessible and affordable way. A number of Western companies have been trackeddown by the three authors that have tried to mirror the concept of Jugaad andconcluded that the Western innovation engine has become too rigid whichconsumes a lot of resources but produces little.
It is a wakeup call for maturecompanies with over developed processes of innovation.This book has given me some sense of confidence for mybusiness idea and has helped me to how to go about it in my Business Plan. I ammore alert about the possible obstructions that I might face on my way and I amsure that the learnings from this book will help me make informed decisions andguide me in finding solutions to them.