The western world, it seems, has suddenly taken a liking for ‘Jugaad’. Indians have always held ‘Jugaad’ very close to their hearts. Jugaad may be trade-marked Indian, but the concept is not uniquely Desi. However, still, the current fascination of the developed world is amusing. Refer two interesting posts on Jugaad in Techcrunch by Sarah Lacy (who was in India doing research for her upcoming book on entrepreurship) and in Businessweek, which calls it Indian style of Innovation and Invention.
As a verb, Jugaad is the antithesis of ‘Process’. It is improvised (and sometimes very creative) problem solving and with the end result sometimes called a ‘Jugaad’ (noun) or described as ‘Jugaad’ (adjective). Which brings me to, why I find this amusing?
Over the past many years, the western (and pseudo western) trained managers have derided the ‘Jugaad’ solution. I remember an external speaker at the ISB, a few years ago, who was convinced that India is underdeveloped back only because of its ‘Jugaad’ mentality (everything else he said in his hour long speech was just gibberish).
Anyways, now, that the world is now discovering Jugaad, one must be careful not to over use it. Here are my thoughts on Jugaad
1. It provides an improvised quick fix but no long term warranty
2. It can certainly help you solve problems (especially if you are desperate)
3. Its gels perfectly with entrepreneurship, especially while starting out and want to ‘get it done’ ever which
way. Has a lot of overlap with 'Bootstrapping' in VC parlance
4. It is low ‘immediate’ cost, but long term costs may not be immediately apparent
PS: A person practicing Jugaad is called ‘Jugaadu’
PS, PS: The article in Businessweek mentions that TCS and Infosys gained world stature by having oodles of Jugaad. Having worked in one of these for over five years, I can tell you that while Jugaad had a role to play, do did 'Process'.
PS, PS, PS: There is a blog detailing list of Indian 'Jugaads'