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Jugaad, frugal innovation

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Do more with less

When you meet Navi Radjou, he explains to you that « Jugaad » is a Hindy word, that the word has popular roots with no accurate translation except to summarize it as "the art of designing ingenious solutions". By seeking to "do more with less" in difficult conditions, innovation takes on new dimensions, the "it has to work" takes precedence over "technical performance".


Another approach : frugal innovation

As technologies or equipment are rare or expensive, the creation of solutions is done by developing ingenuity and creativity feeds on a context, which can be summed up by "scarcity is not a problem, it is the mother of invention"..

The Jugaad Innovator is a person with a problem to solve,but instead of applying a known scheme, he goes outside the box and lets his creativity work without being trapped in a structured, learned process,he adapts to his means, to his environment and aims for an operational result based on simplicity. for simplicity.

Why make it complicated when you can make it simple?

Before discovering how to put frugality in one's approach to innovation, it is important to look at the World and especially to tell oneself that the Western model based on technology as a source of solution is a vision, it is not the only one. The examples that Navi Radjou shows us come from India, Kenya, Brazil, if their economies are emerging, their creativity is fully effective, original, and adaptable.

Some examples to be inspired :

In Peru, a billboard converts humid air into drinking water, generating almost 100 litres a day...

In Kenya, an incubator for premature children is built from Toyota 4×4 parts: battery, headlights...

In Italy, a diving mask goes from recreational to medical use by becoming a supplemental respirator for patients...

Frugal innovation offers an alternative when innovation or production systems rationalise, standardise and become increasingly expensive. Today, many innovations are costly, elitist and ultimately rigid enough to be implemented in an environment that is becoming more and more mobile, our environment is summarized by the acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), our approaches inherited from the last fifty years are being questioned at high speed.

Landmarks are moving, the demand for meaning is as important as the demand for progress, frugal innovation is a way of making a concrete commitment to seek alternative approaches and reinvent models.

6 principles

What are the lines to follow to embark on the path of frugal innovation? These principles guide us as much on the method as on the objective and the way to engage in the resolution of a problem.

  • Search for opportunities in adversity :

Confronted with the problem by getting around the obstacle we want to solve, we change our posture and tell ourselves that the difficulty we encounter is an opportunity, a chance to discover something else, a chance to do things differently by getting around the obstacle.

  • Do more with less

Resources are scarce, ingenuity is limitless, we use, reuse, reorganize

  • Think and act flexible

Yes, we are used to do things this way, but the way we have to develop leads us to look for new ways, not to formalize difficulties, to look at how others do when they have little or nothing.

  • Aim for simplicity

The fewer parts, the less time, the less ... by limiting the resources you use, you're already on your way/

  • Integrate margins and the excluded

The strength of frugal innovation is to seek to include, to give as many people as possible a chance. By choosing to keep it simple, we seek to disseminate progress that is attainable by all.

  • Follow your heart

Resilience in the face of failure, boundless motivation, the heart is constantly forcing the head to look for solutions. Yes, we can make it simple.


To go further, to discover how Accenture, Alcatel, Renault-Nissan, L'Oréal, Lafarge, Air Liquide, Saatchi & Saatchi + Duke and the SNCF... innovate by being inspired by these principles, take a day to discover a book that reads like a novel and encourages you to look for other paths than the one you "usually" take: https://www.diateino.com/fr/83-l-innovation-jugaad.html. Frugal innovation is a good starting point to discover eco-design, the circular economy ... it's a state of mind.


Happy frugal Innovation !

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