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Corporate Dec 6, 2012

Jugaad: Not just a quick-fix but a way of life

First published in Entrepreneur

A company in Japan that made soaps and packed them in soap boxes, found at one of it stores that a few boxes were empty. A panel was set up to look into the matter and billions of dollars were spent in identifying the cause of the error and fixing it.

A company in India in the same business faced the same problem, a large number of the soap boxes turned out empty. To correct the problem, the promoters of the Indian company used a fan that would blow air at the production output. The empty boxes were blown away, giving them the same result the Japanese company attained after spending billions of dollars.

Innovation is structured and the aim is to do something that hasn't been done before. Jugaad is a way to do something that has probably been done before, but in a more cost-effective manner.

Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison World, cited this as an example to explain what Jugaad is and the benefits of using Jugaad.

A CII Conference discussed what Jugaad could do for Indian and global businesses in times when there are constraints on time and resources.

Addressing the first edition of CII Conference on "Jugaad" with the theme 'Dare to Innovate', Ninad Karpe, Vice Chairman, CII Maharashtra State Council and CEO & Managing Director, Aptech Ltd highlighted the need to promote great ideas and scaling them up. He said that Jugaad is not only an innovative fix but also a unique way of responding to the challenges of resource constraint faced by individuals and corporates.

Piruz Khambatta, Conference Chairman and Chairman & Managing Director, Rasna Pvt. Ltd., mentioned that Jugaad Entrepreneurship is not cost cutting, compromising of quality or short cut with compliances but is rather a way of life for an entrepreneur especially in developing markets.

Arup Basu, President - New Businesses & Innovation Centre, Tata Chemicals Ltd., in his Keynote Address mentioned that Jugaad today as a concept is also being used overseas. Citing an example, he shared that innovation at Apple can be termed Jugaad, as the company has successfully brought innovation from different parts of the world and integrated it smartly in a single product.

Sharing more examples, Basu mentioned about the Solar Plant Project on the water canals of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi's use of civil disobedience as tool to get people together, etc. It was also noted at the event that an MP3 player or an iPod gave a lower quality sound as compared to a CD, but the convenience of an MP3 player or an iPod and the element of them bringing in more value for the customer is probably what led to MP3 players and iPods becoming more popular than CD players.

One of the Panel Discussions at the conference focused on addressing the question "Are we looking at more frugal innovation in the light of dropping growth, high inflation and scarce resource scenario?". Addressing the question, Rajiv Narvekar, Research Head, Tata Management Training Center mentioned that today the focus is currently on growth through Innovation & there is a rising demand for low-cost improvement solutions.

Arvind Chinchure, AVP - Innovation, Reliance Industries Ltd. stated that even Reliance is investing in intellectual talent, as it believes the next wave of growth will be through Innovation.

The difference between Jugaad and structured innovation and the relationship between the two were discussed. Balsara said in this regard that innovation happens in a structured manner and the aim is to do something that hasn't been done before. Jugaad on the other hand he added is a way to do something that has probably been done before, but in a more cost-effective manner.

The conference also focused on the rising need of corporate participation to promote new ideas and invest in R&D facilities for Jugaad to be formalized as Innovation. Basu also highlighted that currently the Government of India is spending more on R&D than the corporate sector and that India Inc needs to re-focus their strategies vis--vis R&D.

Anil Joshi, Head, Mumbai Angel Network, shared that India is far behind when it comes to acquiring technology through Mergers & Acquisitions. He also added that capital raised by Angel Investors in the west is close to $20 billion a year whereas back home, it's only a percentage of the amount.

The conference also focused on case studies from companies, whose ideas have been Game Changers in the Market. Damodar Mall, Director, Future Group, while speaking about innovation in retail asserted that solutions for Indian markets should come from within. Balsara, highlighted how Innovation in the west is getting expensive and how they are trying to adapt the Indian concept of Jugaad. Sabaleel Nandy, Business Head, Tata Chemicals & R Raju Kondru, Head - Innovation Center Procter & Gamble, India, also shared with the participants how products like Tata Swach & Gillette Guard can be termed as Jugaad and how & why they have appealed to the masses.

The Conference was well attended by over 150 participants from across the country.

Supported by Mahindra Spark The Rise

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