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Jugaad Innovation

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Jugaad Innovation

Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Ingenious developing-world entrepreneurs accomplish almost anything with almost nothing.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Decentralized, nonhierarchal management has been replacing musty command-and-control management style for some time. One name for R&D’s new bottom-up approach is jugaad, a colloquial Hindi word that roughly translates as “an innovative fix; an improvised solution born from ingenuity and cleverness.” This tactic enables inventors to develop innovative products and services “faster, better and cheaper.” Professors and consultants Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja examine jugaad innovation worldwide, present inspiring case studies and explain why Western companies should supplement top-down, traditional R&D with bottom-up jugaad. getAbstract recommends this revelatory, inspiring exploration to business leaders who seek to innovate by achieving “more with less.”



Mansukh Prajapati – an Indian living in the scorching desert village of Ramakrishna Nagar in the western state of Gujarat – is a trained potter who never finished high school. He also is a brilliant inventor who created a simple clay refrigerator that keeps foods cold without electricity in the hottest climates. Prajapati calls his invention the Mitticool – “mitti means ‘earth’ in Hindi.” Water in the Mitticool’s top chamber moves through the unit’s walls and creates an evaporation effect that cools food in the bottom chamber.

In 2001, an earthquake struck Prajapati’s village. The local newspaper featured a story about the devastation accompanied by a photo of an earthen pot smashed to pieces. The villagers used clay pots to keep water cool, so the photo legend read: “Poor man’s fridge broken.” The caption, though meant as a joke, sparked Prajapati’s thinking. His eureka idea: “Why not use clay to make a real fridge for villagers – one that looks like a typical fridge, but is more affordable and doesn’t need electricity?” Such an appliance would be a godsend to the poor.

After experimenting for a couple of months, Prajapati developed a Mitticool...

About the Authors

Navi Radjou is a strategy consultant and a fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, where Jaideep Prabhu is Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business and Enterprise. Simone Ahuja is the founder of Blood Orange, a strategy consultancy.

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    L. D. 1 decade ago
    A new way to see innovation. Do not think out of the box burn the box. @DM_Lorenzo
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    S. Y. getAbstract 1 decade ago
    This is a great read. This is exactly the mindset needed for path-breaking innovations. Reminds me of Apollo 13.

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