Jugaad, or Frugal, Innovation is not really Innovation
I frequently work with small to medium sized businesses (including boot-strapping start-ups) and have to adopt a similar frugal mindset. Sometimes these quick solutions can create value that can go a long way. However, it’s very much like sticking a band-aid on a wound and not really understanding why the wound happened in the first place.
Borrowed from Indian colloquial for “a quick fix”, Jugaad is being touted world-wide as the “frugal and flexible approach to innovation”. HBR defines Jugaad as:
“…a Hindi word that loosely translates as “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.” Jugaad is an antidote to the complexity of India: a country of mind-blogging diversity; pervasive scarcity of all kinds; and exploding interconnectivity.
Which according to us is not quite the complete definition. Hailing from the land where this word originated and seeing it in play all around us, on a daily basis, for so many years, we do believe we understand the essence of the term and hope this post will help communicate it. You see a “quick-fix” is just that – a “quick-fix”. Sure it applies innovative thinking – a brilliant spark of inspiration that can help you overcome a problem and find a solution – but one that will hold just long enough till you can find a permanent solution to the problem.
What such “quick-fix” solutions should do instead is to start a cycle of user research or analysis that focuses on finding out why this problem happened in the first place and to then figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
Understanding why problems happen, or asking the right questions (not answers), is what will put you on the right part to Innovation.
Via: Ideafarms. Image from Boxer Creative.