Sunday, January 19, 2014
Jugaad Innovation - the mother of invention is scarcity
Jugaad is practiced by almost all Indians in their daily lives to make the most of what they have. Jugaad applications include finding new uses for everyday objects—Indian kitchens are replete with empty Coke or Pepsi bottles reused as ad-hoc containers for dried legumes or condiments—or inventing new utilitarian tools using everyday objects, like amakeshift truck cobbled together with a diesel engine slapped onto a cart (interestingly, the origin of the word jugaad, in Punjabi, literally describes such makeshift vehicles).
The word jugaad is also applied to any use of an ingenious way to ‘‘game the system.’’ For instance, millions of cellphone users in India rely on ‘‘missed calls’’ to communicate messages to each other using a prearranged protocol between the caller and receiver: think of this as free textless text messaging. For example, your carpooling partner may give you a ‘‘missed call’’ in the morning indicating he has just left his house and is on his way to pick you up.5 Hence, theword jugaad carries a slightly negative connotation for some. But by and large, the entrepreneurial spirit of jugaad is practiced by millions in India simply to improvise clever—and completely legitimate—solutions to everyday problems.
In this book, we delve into the frugal and flexible mindset of thousands of ingenious entrepreneurs and enterprises practicing jugaad to creatively address critical socioeconomic issues in their communities. Jugaad innovators like Mansukh Prajapati view severe constraints, such as a lack of electricity, not as a debilitating challenge but as an opportunity to innovate and overcome these very constraints.