Jugaad

As we are growing rapidly, I was looking for a way to explain to newbies how we innovate at Hercules Trophy. As we offer high value at low cost to our customers, we need to be very creative with budgets all the time. We always lack funds to do everything we want – but we still manage to do what we want – so we need to be creative and innovative with limited budgets.

The article on Six Sigma and innovation in Bloomberg Businessweek was very interesting, but only proves to me that Six Sigma and innovation are very hard to combine. I prefer to have less Six Sigma and more innovation.

I bumped into a very interesting blogpost on  Jugaad and I must say it describes strikingly well how innovation is done in our company.

Jugaad literally means an improvised arrangement or work-around, which has to be used because of a lack of resources. As I’m a firm believer that creativity and innovation come from a lack of resources – and we are always confronted with a lack of resources at Hercules Trophy – I was intrigued by the concept and I’m definitely going to read the book.

  • Seek opportunity in adversity
    Jugaad entrepreneurs perceive harsh constraints as an invitation to innovate. Kanak Das, who lives in a remote village in North East India got tired of riding his bicycle on roads full of pot holes and bumps. Rather than complaining, he turned it to his advantage by retrofitting his bicycle with device that will converts the shocks it receives into acceleration energy, allowing him to ride his bicycle faster on bumpy roads.
  • Do More with Less
    Jugaad innovators are highly resourceful in the face of scarcity. The practitioners of jugaad, work with what they have got. This frugal principle can teach us to optimize the use of scarce financial and natural resources while delivering high value.
  • Think and Act Flexibly
    Jugaad innovators’ flexible mindset constantly questions the status quo, keeps all options open, and transforms existing products, services, and business models.
  • Keep it Simple
    Jugaad is not about seeking sophistication or perfection by over engineering products, but rather about developing a ‘good enough’ solution that gets the job done.
  • Include the Margin
    While everyone typically serves the mainstream, jugaad entrepreneurs intentionally seek out the marginal, underserved customers and pull them into main stream.
  • Follow Your Heart
    Jugaad innovators do not rely on focus groups or formal market research to decide what products to make-nor do they worry how the investors will react to their new product strategies. They know their customers and their products intimately and ultimately, they trust and follow their hearts.

I follow these principles every day, without knowing Jugaad existed! I agree that Western corporations can no longer just rely on the old formula that sustained innovation and growth for decades: a mix of top-down strategies, expensive R&D projects and rigid, highly structured innovation processes. Jugaad Innovation argues that the West must look to places like India, China, and Africa for a new, bottom-up approach to frugal and flexible innovation.

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One Response to Jugaad

  1. Pingback: Innovation in Rural India: Jugaad and Beyond… | Whatever It's Worth...

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