* Original Question “The concept of jugaad
innovation has captured worldwide attention
and Navi Rajdou recommends the West rethink
Innovation. What should we do?”
* The Correct Question - “The short answer
would be to ignore it. But allow me to explain
why Jugaad is NOT Innovation and why Jugaad
CANNOT LEAD TO Innovation. Which is the long
Jugaad is a Hindi-Urdu term widely used in India and Pakistan and by people of South
Asian origin around the world.
Jugaad (also sometimes jugarh or jugard) 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.
The same term, Jugaad, is given to locally made motor vehicles, used mostly in small
villages as a means of low-cost transportation in rural India. These vehicles are made
by carpenters by fitting a diesel engine on a cart.
The Jugaad movement has gathered a community of enthusiasts, believing it to be the
proof of Indian bubbling creativity, or a cost-effective way to solve the issues of
everyday life. It is commonly used when describing a workaround to get through
commercial, logistical, or legal issues.
Sometimes, jugaad may refer to an idea from which a person can control his or her
budget, or from which they may acquire luxuries, sometimes through illegal means,
such as the theft of electricity, gas etc.
Jugaad is also a colloquial Hindi word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around,
sometimes pejoratively used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or a
person who can solve a complicated issue.
It is used as much to describe enterprising street mechanics as for political fixers. This meaning is often
used to signify creativity to make existing things work or to create new things with meagre resources.
The jugaad concept can be contrasted with the Western (originally American) concept of a hack or
kludge. Although in its general meaning "hack" is very similar to "jugaad", a jugaad can be thought of
more as a survival tactic; in contrast, a hack, especially nowadays, is seen an intellectual art form. Both
concepts express a need to do what needs to be done, without regard to what is conventionally
supposed to be possible.
Jugaad is increasingly accepted as a management technique and is recognised all over the world as an
acceptable form of frugal engineering at peak in India. Companies in India are adopting Jugaad as a
practise to reduce research and development costs. Jugaad also applies to any kind of creative and out
of the box thinking or life hacking which maximises resources for a company and its stakeholders.
Aditya - This is where the blunder lies...
Some argue that, stripped of its disregard for safety, Jugaad is simply another word for „Frugal
Innovation‟, propagated simply for its eastern, esoteric and mystical allure, which overshadow the
underlying urge to save cost and maximise profit.
The practical applications and implementations of Jugaad often defy established processes, at the risk
of creating safety issues. There are several instances of Jugaad fixes failing, at the cost of lives and
Jugaad is an act of desperation
To understand Jugaad you have to understand
Without any/much regard to Quality, Safety, Legality, Reliability or any thinking of the Future or any
downside risks or impacts. But the mindset behind Jugaad is all the more damaging.
Chalega – Hindi for “Will do [as in – it works/will work]. If it works somehow or for now and
gets us out of this mess lets just do it and worry about everything else later
It is a Desperate TACTIC an act of Desperation & NOT A Sustainable Strategy
It is the source of all acts of Not Working Hard and Smart in the country but to find
Loopholes, Workarounds and Cutting Corners to succeed.
It is hence the source of all non-meritocracy that exists in large parts of the sub-continent
It has some benefits to stress test something by having so many people try to break it, work
around it and find loopholes but other than that there is nothing positive about it
It is the patchwork that‟s responsible for pathetic quality and service culture in the country
It is the source of virtually 50-60% of all reasoning behind all sorts of Illegal acts in the
It is behind half of all the prayers in the country to God and Powerful people to miraculously
strike it rich „somehow‟. It is behind the belief that to succeed in the country you don‟t need
capability, education or talent but rather contacts in high places, money to bribe and the
willingness to bend over backwards
“Some argue that, stripped of its disregard for safety, Jugaad is simply another word for „Frugal Innovation‟ ”
There is even a thought process that there is a route from Jugaad to Innovation
Summarizing and reemphasizing the 8 points on the previous slide
One might argue that a War is a Desperate Act of Survival and everyone knows it leads to Innovation…
So then – what is different about Jugaad, which if we rely on in our business and we don‟t grasp will lead to a
As an example - Understand this – your corporate policy about employee referals in india is worthless because for the
prospective employee it‟s a Jugaad for him to get a job in your company irrespective of his capability or reputation and
there are all sorts of deals happening behind the Referal Scene
With daily/weekly targets, Your sales process in the country has no reflection of any values, principles or practices. In the
name of Cut Throat Competition and „Professionalism‟ (!!!) the sales process is all about Jugaad, getting it done anyhow. If
you get the deal it doesn‟t matter what was done to get it. And this is rewarded. Which brings me to introduce another
term „Baad mein dekhenge‟ [we will see/worry later] example usage: sell the product to the customer „somehow‟ even if
the customer or our own company gets destroyed because of it “Baad mein dekhenge”
3 practices out of dozens like these specifically – Jugaad, Chalega and „Baad mein dekhenge‟ have ruined the country
If you are a westerner or a Top Indian Management Guru and you ask me to shutup and get lost… Let me warn you against
(i) mistaking Jugaad for any sort of Innovation, Frugal or otherwise, (ii) living in a notion that if you promote jugaad it will
lead to Israel like innovation, or (iii) thinking of Jugaad as some Sexy Management concept in isolation and without thinking
of it along with Chalega and „Baad mein dekhenge‟
Think of anything (i) Security Policies for your business or (ii) Engineering or HR Policies or practices….. You name it you
simply have to think of these 3 practices together and tackle them to figure out how to succeed
And lastly even if Jugaad works for you, your organization or at some point in time, it has absolutely disasterous effects on
the economy, society, law/crime, globalization, contracts, trade, trust and relationships.
In terms of evolution this will probably take 2-3 generations of Globalization and Global Business and Cross Pollination to
fix and that means a 100 years + or -.
This is a thing that needs to be fixed and not to rejoice about, but slowly and steadily fix them in our organizations
If you are a westerner and if you have never been to india, and you need to understand india and your indian counterparts
to make your global business succeed, and your career is at stake, you just need to understand these 3 practices and fix
them in your indian organization or employees of indian origin, resident in india or anywhere!!! in the world.
* Jugaad is not Innovation, and
* Jugaad cannot lead to Innovation
* But rather
* It is something that needs to be avoided and fixed
* And is something that has ruined the country and
can and will ruin your company.
* Though if your goal is to win the Nobel Prize or a
career move or a promotion then yes! Go ahead and
preach it! [Snake Oil Salesman! -J]