« Jugaad », when the Western World learn from the Eastern World

Jugaad is an Hindi word which literally means « machinery », or a mechanical solution to a problem. It is generally used to represent an innovative way to resolve a daily problem with very few resources. That’s why Jugaad is generally used to speak about creativity or innovation. Nowadays, Jugaad is recognized by the experts all around the world as a technique of management that we can observe in India.

Thanks to Jaideep Prabhu, an Indian teacher in Cambridge and India who wrote a book about Jugaad, this concept is now very famous. He speaks about « frugal, flexible and inclusive way » and focuses his approach on  the native ingenuity of millions of Indians. Indeed, Jugaad can be presented as an opportunity for emerging countries which lack for resources. Moreover, a growing number of « developed countries » are trying to import this way of thinking. For example, the French firms L’Oréal, Renault and SNCF have yet adopted this approach.

The Prabhu’s book explains the six principles of « jugaad » innovation : To seek opportunity in adversity, to do more with less, to think and act flexibly, to keep being simple, to include the margin and follow your heart. Jugaad is based on recycling materials and using resources for unusual purposes. One of the most important feature of Jugaad is its flexibility and its possible application in each part of the world. The coming examples will allow us to understand that the «Juggad» has as well to adapt to its environment.

As to illustrate, an ingenious Filipino invented « a liter of light »: a plastic bottle filled with bleach that captures the sunray and generates strong luminosity like a normal light bulb. This product only costs 1 dollar and can be easily developed in the slum.  Another example from Kenya shows us that it is possible to charge your mobile phone with your bike. In Lima (Peru) where it rains a lot, a University of Engineering designed an advertising board that enables to absorb humidity and to convert it into drinkable water, generating up to 100 liter per day.

Illustration of Jugaad urbanism :


To conclude, Jugaad is a good example to follow and an important message from the « emerging countries » to the « rich countries ». Too often, the Occident wants to teach the « good way » to others. The concept of Jugaad shows us that there are many ways for development and that innovation comes from diversity.






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