Archives - February 2012

Innovation Lessons from India’s ‘Jugaad’ Ideology

Inspired by my recent visit to Amritsar in India I was surprised on how much more the west has been making its mark over there, even in the ‘Holy City’. I know everyone goes on about India’s economic boom, but it was really interesting to see it for myself as a comparison from when I went there just 4 years ago. A lot has changed.. but also at the same time a lot hasn’t. From a Domino’s Pizza & Nescafe Coffee Shop outside the Golden Temple to cinema multiplexes and gigantic shopping malls housing familiar western designer brands and fast food outlets. Inside these places you really could be anywhere in the west, but once outside across the street you are reminded of where you are.

But this is India’s surprising economic miracle – the country’s state may be weak, but its private companies are strong, the rich are getting richer and the poor.. well, are still very poor. 450 million poor in India (more than in entire Africa combined) also mean 450 million who have singular economic spaces to big bang as many economic miracles in the form of what they call ‘Jugaad’.

The following are excerpts taken from the  article Jugaad is a Magical Word written by Roopa from

‘Just like the fairies calling “abracadabra” can conjure anything out of thin air, Jugaad can get anything done in the real world. It is like the ultimate solution to every problem, last resort to every journey, the only way out from the point of no return. In fact it is the greatest skill god has given to mankind to survive in the race of evolution. Jugaad has great powers. If someone just assures you that he has some jugaad to help you out, you are most confident that your work will certainly be done. Jugaad is god’s helping hand on earth.

The Hindi term Jugaad literally means  ”an arrangement or a work around, which has to be used because of lack of resources”. In a broad sense, the term refers to a certain resourcefulness and innovation found in Indian cities. Jerry-rigged cars, homemade stoves, and do-it-yourself water filtration are all examples of citizens “making do” with what they have on hand. That resourcefulness has proven to be an inspiration for local non-governmental organisations and international designers alike. It is the product of highest level of creativity and imagination to utilise the limited and cheap resources to give out the desired result. It has even found a place in unofficial management dictionary for its widespread reach and effectiveness. Moreover since it is practically so spontaneous & genuine that there is no any danger of copyright crime or intellectual property theft. Doing a Jugaad is legally accepted since most of the times it is used to find out way around the legal obligations. Jugaad can be used to repair something, buy or sell or just create what you want with what you have. Jugaad satisfies all, no harm to anyone because everyone knows and respects Jugaad. Jugaad has such a great public recognition.

India is recognised for its capability to do more with less. That’s also jugaad. Today, this motto is being chanted in corporate forums in the west as a vast business strategy. Given today’s economic climate, this philosophy is finding significance and approval. Why has India become an outsourcer’s joy? It’s because of it’s inborn ability to maximise resources and create quality products and services.

Jugaad is my most valuable learning from college. It was used not only in practical lab or examination hall but also more prominently in relationships. In fact Jugaad was another name for one’s girl/boy friend. If a boy is Jugaadu then he certainly has a lot of girls around him. If you look closely you can actually understand why a relationship is more or less like a Jugaad. Just like in Jugaad, you have to work around in a relationship with available resources. Most of the time, these worked out ways are illogical and practically impossible. Still just like Jugaad, relationships work out in spite of everyone’s lack of confidence in it. And just like Jugaad they triumph and inspires in the tales of following generations.

But to do a Jugaad is not a child’s play. Jugaad needs imagination, High level of creativity, a skill of thinking out of the box. Jugaad can not be learned it should come from within. You can always learn how a Jugaad is done, but you can never understand how some one has invented it. In fact every scientific invention or innovation is nothing but a Jugaad. The first man who was too weak to push a flat rock on the ground did a Jugaad to come up with the wheel. Claw-less man came up with Jugaad of stones to start the stone age. As the needs increased he developed the Jugaad of metals, machines, computers, laptops, microchips, mobile phones and lot many to come. Anthropologically speaking the only reason behind Man’s intelligent evolution is his ability to use the things around him to do the desired work. In other words our whole success of evolutionary excellency is nothing but Jugaad. A Jugaad which has continued for years and will continue until the last Man is alive.’

To celebrate India’s Jugaad, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York last year held an exhibition: Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities.

Below are just a few examples I found of India’s ‘Jugaad

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Cherish Craft

A very happy Valentine’s Day to all our fellow lovers of craft!

The love of craft in its many forms is at the heart of all things Boxer,
so what better time to share the love?

So sit back, cherish a few quiet moments, and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Power Rocking!

The Murakami Chair’s attached lamp powered by your rocking back and forth. Designed by Rochus Jacob. The Chair’s OLED lamp even senses when it’s light or dark and it has a battery pack which stores ‘your rocking’ in the daylight . Found here..

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