Book Review: Jugaad Innovation - Think Frugal, Be Flexible
The book is a resourceful guide to help readers unlock the value of the jugaad principles in enabling innovation
Jugaad, a Hindi word, when roughly translated would mean: a creative improvisation, a tool to somehow find a solution based on a refusal to accept defeat, and calling on initiative, quick thinking, and cunning resolve to quickly fulfill market demands at the lowest possible prices. In Jugaad Innovation: A Frugal and Flexible Approach to Innovation for the 21st Century, authors Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja challenge the status quo of traditional organizations in terms of how they think and act. At a time when global competition is on the rise and R&D budgets for companies worldwide are swelling, the authors present ways to innovate, be flexible, and do more with less. The book argues that the West must look at places like India, Brazil, and China for a new approach to frugal and flexible innovation and succeed in hypercompetitive market places.
The book outlines six principles of jugaad: Seek opportunity in adversity; do more with less; think and act flexibly; keep it simple; include the margin; and follow your heart. The caveat is that jugaad innovation is not a panacea to be applied to all innovation problems in all situations and despite its clear benefits, it too has its own share of limitations. Arguing that jugaad is a useful complement to the structured approach to innovation; the authors emphasize that jugaad innovation delivers the most impressive results when it is practiced in complex and volatile environments characterized by – rapid changes, widespread resource scarcity, frugal and diverse customers, industry immaturity, and exploding interconnectivity. To help CEOs integrate jugaad into their organizations, the authors have compiled a do’s and don’ts list, which argues that CEOs should not try to implement jugaad in a systematic top down fashion; they need not patent jugaad, but rather monetize them, and use web 2.0 collaboration tools to harness customer and partner creativity. The book cites cases of large corporations from around the world—Google, Facebook, 3M, Apple, Best Buy, GE, IBM, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Tata Group, Siemens, Yes Bank, Renault–Nissan, Suzlon, SAP and more—that are actively practicing jugaad innovation.
The authors are of the view that jugaad innovators, when confronted with adversity, do not retrench but embrace the difficulties and learn from experience. The book is filled with examples which affirm this compelling argument. So, be it Benjamin Franklin whose jugaad innovation, Franklin stove, delivered ‘more with less’ or Mansukh Prajapati, a trained potter and not a scientist, who put together a terracotta box that operated like a refrigerator, Mitticool, or Tulsi Tanti who founded Suzlon Wind; all exemplify the fact that jugaad innovators are adept at taking on the arduous challenges, demonstrate resilience, ingenuity and seek opportunity in adversity.
Filled with engaging stories of resourceful jugaad innovators and entrepreneurs in emerging markets and the United States; the book is a resourceful guide to help readers unlock the value of principles of jugaad innovation in enabling innovation. A must read for corporate leaders and entrepreneurs alike.
Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth
Authored by: Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Simone Ahuja