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TheStreet Open House

Jugaad to Help Fight Economic Sharks

 

For instance, CellScope is a digital healthcare startup that converts your existing smartphone into at-home diagnosis device. So a mother can plug CellScope's optical attachment to her smartphone and use it as a otoscope to check if her daughter has an ear infection -- without leaving her home, which is a time-consuming process as we all know. For me CellScope's solution is a great example of jugaad thinking: it helps saves time (and money) for people looking to simplify their lifestyle. Remember that in a Western context, what is really scarce is not money as much as time.

You also talk about corporate America and mainstream business. How Jugaad will find a place in mainstream business when we talk about money, investment and other such parameters?
Radjou: Corporate America has no choice but to embrace the flexible and frugal principles of jugaad in order to succeed in a difficult economic environment characterised by three big constraints: 1) greater volatility/unpredictability, 2) resource scarcity, 3) a growing number of cost-conscious and eco-conscious consumers seeking affordable and environmentally-friendly products. As I said earlier, the old R&D model simply can't help corporate America successfully deal with these three constraints.

 

The recent healthcare reform is going to force U.S. medical device makers and pharma companies to totally reinvent their "bigger is better" R&D model in order to cost-effectively serve the needs of the 50 million Americans who currently are uninsured and need to be covered.

How different is Jugaad from DIY? When there is DIY in America, why do they need a third world concept of "Jugaad"?
Radjou: DIY and Jugaad share the same spirit of ingenuity and improvized creativity. But DIY has traditionally been practiced in the fringes of Western societies -- primarily led by amateurs -- and tends to be perceived as a hobby. But now we are seeing that with the success of the MakerFaires in San Mateo, Calif. and New York and the democratization of 3D printers, the DIY phenomenon is going mainstream and becoming serious "business". On the other hand, jugaad has long been the only dominant approach to innovation in emerging markets and it has been practiced on a much larger scale by billions of people in India, China, Brazil, and Africa. In particular, I do believe that American firms can learn much from emerging markets how to bring the DIY spirit inside their large organizations.

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