In a recession economy, wouldn’t a $35 tablet computer be an attention-grabbing alternative to a $500 iPad? Yes, it’d be a godsend. And it could become a reality if Western businesses started injecting the concept of “jugaad” in their manufacturing processes.
“Jugaad” or “frugal innovation” is derived from the age-old Indian tradition of improvising using limited resources (think: Tata Nano.)
The four operating principles of “jugaad” are:
Thrift. This promotes frugality, which helps tackle scarcity of all forms of resources.
Inclusion. This helps entrepreneurial organizations put inclusiveness into practice, by tightly connecting with, and harnessing the growing diversity that permeates their communities of customers, employees, and partners.
Bottom-Up Participation. This drives collaboration. C.E.O.s, whose job is akin to that of conductors, must learn to facilitate collaborative improvisation just as players in jazz bands do.
Flexible Thinking And Action. This facilitates flexibility in thinking and action. Jugaad-practicing firms are highly adaptable as they aren’t wedded to any single business model and pursue multiple options at any time.
As we know, the reign of the free market economy is predicated on the race to the bottom. First, there was cheap labor. Now, there’s cheap innovation.