Innovation Inspiration : Jugaad Innovation

27 May 2013|jhall

To receive Jonathan Hall’s monthly newsletter on Innovation, directly in your inbox subscribe here. “Jugaad is a term applied to a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem. Jugaad literally means an improvised arrangement or work-around, which has to be used because of lack of resources.” – Wikipedia

The groundbreaking book, Jugaad Innovation, shows how organizations can benefit from thinking Jugaad —a mindset that used to pervade Western economies in younger days and is now alive and well in emerging economies like India, Brazil and China. This month’s inspiration comes from the concept of Jugaad and its six principles: “seek opportunity in adversity, do more with less, think and act flexibly, keep it simple, include the margin and follow your heart.”

Jugaad= MacGyver
So, who is the master of Jugaad? Remember MacGyver – the 80’s secret agent who had a clever solution for every impossible situation? Well, Beth Comstock, CMO at GE, reckons he’s the “New Hero of Business Innovation.” Enabling MacGyver thinking means having a burning platform, needing no permission and being a doer. And it works from Silicon Valley to the Rift Valley…

Innovation doesn’t have to cost a lot. Frugal innovation is one of the primary principles of Jugaad, embraced by Carlos Ghosn at Renault-Nissan. Emerging countries now have the education, competitive markets and lower labor costs to deliver innovative products and services which – crucially – will be equally relevant for Western customers…

When it comes to corporate innovation systems, bottom-up is growing in importance. Being close to customers and markets in a hyperlocal way introduces enhanced nimbleness into the innovation process.

Jugaad =Agility
The pioneer spirit was once strong in North America, but then came corporate over-engineering. Where is it alive and kicking? In emerging economies. So, what can the West learn from Jugaad? In a nutshell: prioritize which principles are most critical for your business success; and aim for the low-hanging fruit.

Less is often more, particularly in our over-developed lifestyles. Sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest.

Internal innovation
Jugaad innovation can apply to internal improvements too. SAP Labs India gave employees the freedom to test and deploy their own ideas, leading to innovative workplace solutions that improved productivity.

10 frugal innovation examples from the East
Frugal innovation is rife in India. Here are just a few examples to inspire your own initiatives.

And some examples from the West
From PepsiCo to GE to Unilever, see how some Western companies are learning to leverage Jugaad concepts.

Pure inspiration
One man’s determination to build a $9 cardboard bike.

Out of this world
MacGyver would be proud of these astronauts.

Written by Jonathan Hall, Managing Director, Added Value Cheskin.

QR code created by François Dumortier, Added Value.

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