India’s Next Global Export: Innovation

28 Jun 2010 Sandeep Mehta

Here is a quick read on a new framework for innovation from business week: India’s Next Global Export: Innovation:

A Hindi slang word, jugaad (pronounced ‘joo-gaardh’) translates to an improvisational style of innovation that’s driven by scarce resources and attention to a customer’s immediate needs, not their lifestyle wants. 

The concept is to get work done by improvising around constraints – the approach does not matter as long as goals are met.  However, as we had discussed in assumptions that executives need to challenge, jugaad can have pretty negative implications:

Moreover, because jugaad essentially means inexpensive invention on the fly, it can imply cutting corners, disregarding safety, or providing shoddy service. ‘Jugaad means ‘Somehow, get it done,’ even if it involves corruption,’ cautions M.S. Krishnan, a Ross business school professor. ‘Companies have to be careful. They have to pursue jugaad with regulations and ethics in mind.

This might be a good idea to drive innovation in a culture that is overly burdened with bureaucracy.  However, one must really ask the question about why there is bureaucracy in the first place.  In fact,  work getting done bypassing  bureaucracies will reduce the need to remove inefficiencies…

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