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The West embraces Jugaad; India yet to take a serious note

The co-author of Jugaad Innovation, Navi Radjou was in town and spoke to the advertising fraternity on what makes Jugaad sell and be the latest buzzword in the corporate boardrooms abroad.

Other than the locally made motor vehicles used for low-cost transportation in Indian villages, 'Jugaad' refers to a lot more. So much more that a bestselling book has been written on it and the word itself is slowly making the rounds of global forums like the World Economic Forum.

The co-author of the book 'Jugaad Innovation' was in Delhi to talk on Jugaad Innovation: The Powerful and Wise Growth Model for Complex Times. Rendezvous with Radjou was presented by DDB Mudra Max and was held at The Media Cafe, Gurgaon, co-owned by former Lintas hands, Sudha Natrajan and Raghav Subramanian.

Navi Radjou

Radjou spoke about the growing popularity of the term Jugaad and also how India itself can reconnect with the Jugaad spirit. He said that it was in the light of the research and development budget scaling more than US$550 billion in 2010 that quality management processes like the Six Sigma were resorted to. Commenting on the malaise with the models of the innovation that the West follows, Radjou said, "The West needs a new innovation model; the old ones are expensive, rigid and elitist."

Radjou, who's a faculty member at the World Economic Forum, while talking about ingenious products and services from emerging markets exemplifying Jugaad, mentioned Gujarat's Mansukhbhai Prajapati's Mitticool (http://www.mitticool.in/index.php) - a fridge that is made of a special clay and works without electricity, Philippines' bottle lamps, African makeshift bicycle chargers and the Brazilian Caixa Bank's floating bank branches.

The six principles of Jugaad

Radjou defined Jugaad as "the gutsy art of improvising an effective solution with limited resources, using ingenuity and resilience".

"Jugaad is just a tool; the intent is more important than the action," he added.

Three tenets of Jugaad, according to the speaker, are Frugality, Flexibility and Inclusiveness. Radjou, who's next book is From Smart to Wise, elaborated the six principles of Jugaad (see box) and gave SELCO (http://www.selco-india.com/) as an example of an ingenuous way of seeking opportunity in adversity. Lauding the efforts made by PepsiCo under the leadership of Indra Nooyi, Radjou highlighted the global beverage major's focus on 'Good For You' products and also mentioned the company's Global Value Innovation Centre that produces 'frugal' business models.

Pratap Bose
Mandeep Singh

Jugaad innovation, Radjou said, helps companies do more with less. Citing the examples of FMCG behemoth Unilever, he mentioned Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever's commitment of doubling revenues and cutting the environmental impact of the company by 50 per cent by 2020. Supporting his statement that more and more companies based in the West are resorting to the benefits of Jugaad, he gave the names of Haier, GE Healthcare, Siemens, P&G, Walmart and Renault-Nissan as some prominent examples.

Carlos Ghosn, supporter of the Jugaad innovation, was quoted by Radjou as saying, "In the West, when we face huge problems and we lack resources, we tend to give up (too) easily - Jugaad is about never giving up!"

The session was attended by professionals from the advertising, media and marketing fraternity. Ron Bhattacharya, CXO, I&DISC Services, said, "Frugality, as Radjou pointed out, is good but the one that is sustainable is better. It's nice that we have started taking note of Jugaad in the corporate world. This session just made it evident."

Talking about the relevance of the session, Pratap Bose, chief operating officer, DDB Mudra Group, said, "Radjou's talk culturally fitted in well with what DDB Mudra Group, especially Mudra Max, stands for. We need clients to look at DDB Mudra Max as not just an executioner of their campaigns but as partners who provide innovative business solutions."

According to Mandeep Singh, president, DDB Mudra Max, "Knowledge increases when shared. Mudra Max has always stood for innovation and 'more for less'. Therefore, a session on Jugaad Innovation made sense. Being a thought leader, we might turn this initiative into a multi-city programme."

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