Jugaad: India’s gift to the world

The Japanese gave the world Just-in-Time Management. The Chinese offer ultra-large-scale manufacturing efficiencies. What management philosophy can India give the world?

That’s: jugaad.

This unique verb loosely translates as ‘making do’ and is sometimes unfairly used in the pejorative sense. But extend the idea a little more and it could be interpreted as ‘maximising scarce resources.’ There is no better time to cash in on this outlook than now, as the world heads for a slowdown and corporations struggle to grow top and bottom lines.

One of the most potent examples of this is the jugaad itself, a hybrid piece of machinery ubiquitous in rural India that can be used as a mode of transport, a pump to irrigate fields and a source of short-term power, all for minimal cost. It’s been (and still is) a mainstay of India’s agrarian economy, spawning an entrepreneurial opportunity based on a shortage of basic rural infrastructure such as electricity, water and transport.

But cashing in on a shortage economy is not the only entrepreneurial opportunity that Indians have leveraged. They have also learnt to do things at minimal cost and maximum efficiency within the available and often sub-optimal infrastructure.

The jugaad approach partly stems from a realistic assessment of resource availability.


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August 2009
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About this blog…

I am very closely associated with the term "Jugaad". Natively being from a place where this term is widely used, I never gave too much importance to it. But then I realised the actual potential of "Jugaad". Keep commenting on my posts.

I have another blog on my passion i.e. Aviation. You can check it on www.review-airlines.blogspot.com (popular as Rahul's blog on Indian Aviation).

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