The New Management Mantra - Jugaad
We are for the most part so immersed, so engaged in our routines that we just do not get the time to even take note of the changes happening around us – be they changes in our professional field or even those in our immediate surroundings. We are not really aware and alert about circumstances around, but Bapu surely is; He is at all times aware of reality and alert about it. It was due to this very alertness on His part coupled with His concern for His shraddhavaan friends, that Bapu conducted two seminars in July 2012. The seminars were indeed a fruit of His tireless hard work and deep study.
So many fields witnessed change right in the initial twelve years of this millennium! If we fail to conserve human values that are basic and in fact timeless, if we fail to keep abreast with not just change but the pace of change, we will not be able to hold out; we might just wither away in the course of time. And so, responding to the need of the hour, Bapu conducted a seminar addressing a select group of 17. In this 30 hour long seminar, Bapu acquainted the group with several topics. Many from the group it was found, were quite unaware about concepts like Attention Economy, 'Jugaad', Cloud Computing. Talking about 'Jugaad' Bapu said, "The 'Jugaad' will end up as the only strategy that will help sail through the kind of times that await us. Moreover, the 'Jugaad Technology' is now going to prove applicable and pertinent to every aspect of life." I wish that Bapu's extensive and far-reaching outlook reach each and every shraddhavaan and so I share the following article as today's blogpost:
While Rammeher Singh had electricity at his poultry farm, he could not be sure about the consistency of the power supply. The problem of load shedding was taking disproportionate shape and rigor making the situation grim. It was excruciatingly difficult for him to run his poultry farm since there would be no supply of power for hours together. While he was dealing with this problem on one hand, on the other, the ever mounting expenses of running a generator on diesel made him spend sleepless nights. The Electricity bill would be about Rs. 45000 per month and the Diesel expenses would be around Rs. 120000 per month.
The problem was sticky and complicated. However, Rammeher Singh who was an ex-army man did not get bogged down by the problem. Rammeher Singh from Jhajjal village in Haryana thought through with a calm mind and found out a solution that he thought was easy to implement as well as something he totally synched up with. This solution proved to be quite useful and inspiring to many people. After implementing this solution, now Rammeher Singh’s monthly Diesel expenses are around Rs. 60000 and he has stopped taking the Electricity from the South Haryana Electricity Board. He is currently saving almost Rs. 1 lakh a month. How did he manage all this?
Rammeher Singh decided to use abundantly available poultry waste to generate electricity by using the Bio-gas power generating plant. Now after having set up such an innovative way of generating electricity, Rammeher Singh now has so much electricity available that he is using the electricity in an uninterrupted way for a continuous period of 14 hours on a daily basis. Besides this, after using such a waste to generate power, any remainder residue has proved to be an excellent fertilizer. This fertilizer has been now used in the fields as a rich source of nutrients for the plants. After conducting experiments and research, it has been proved that such fertilizer contains rich nutrients such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus in abundance. Such is the innovative idea of generating electricity through Bio-gas power generating plant!
Rammeher Singh’s innovative idea saw the light of the day only due to his determination and a strong will to uplift self out of the non-favorable circumstance. Rammeher Singh looked at his challenge as an opportunity and chose to use the poultry waste as a rich source of raw material to generate electricity. He not only devised a unique, economical and effective solution for himself but also showed an innovative path to the rest of the poultry farmers in Haryana. The state government of Haryana took cognizance of Rammeher Singh’s innovative approach. It offered financial aid to other farmers who intended to use this method for power generation.
If one were to use a colloquial word from recent times, one would need to ask, “How did Rammeher Singh performed this Jugaad?”
Jugaad… In India, we use this word in our day-to-day life quite often and of course, quite effortlessly as well. Should one want to accomplish a task or get something done, one tends to say,”Hey! do some jugaad my friend” or ”one must do some jugaad and get this thing done.” The implied meaning behind such sentences is that one must accomplish this task “Come what may.” One must get it done “by hook or by crook.” It may so happen that when one considers “hook or crook” one does not necessarily feel inhibited to adopt any path, be it right or wrong, to accomplish a task. This word has earned a wrong connotation only due to this meaning that is commonly associated with it.
And then one tends to wonder “What exactly is Jugaad? Do Management Gurus and CEOs of organizations understand this word to mean “by hook or crook?” Do they think just the way this word has been used commonly today in everyday life? Definitely not! In order to survive and that too survive well in today’s day and age of fierce competition, “Jugaad” has become a magic wand for the world of management to give the customer something “out of box.” The field of management has recognized that it is not only a science but also an art.
If one were to define this management principle or technique called “Jugaad,” one could define it as a disciplined, creative, profitable, and an easy technique or an approach to conquer adverse circumstances by using available resources along with one’s creativity and intellect.
Jugaad requires that you be possessed, passionate about resolving the task in hand, be willing to take on challenges. Alongside these is required an ability to look at usual, everyday things unusually, the skill to take quick decisions, the capability to be innovative, to stay calm and cool in the midst of adversities and to cultivate an attitude that adapts to the situation around and brings about appropriate change. All of these together will help thoughtful action that will rise above adverse circumstances and achieve results meeting expectations or even much beyond them and that too through economic means. At times the fruits of such actions could be in the form of “More gains and minimal expenses” and at other times, it could mean “more work accomplishment in the least time.” The bottom line however remains, that one ought to achieve this without compromising or without allowing oneself to compromise on the quality of products and on services. Many may raise an eyebrow knowing that this new management technique has been pioneered in India. However, the fact remains that today, a special science based on it is definitely being devised and implemented!
The word “Jugaad” has been derived from a Hindi/Punjabi word “Juggad.” In the rural areas of Punjab, people use an economical vehicle for transportation which is made by putting together various parts and accessories. This vehicle is called “Juggad.” This vehicle is used for transporting people as well as goods and supplies. The front portion of this vehicle resembles a Motorcycle whereas the rear resembles a cycle rickshaw or a jeep. Approximately around 20 people can travel by such a vehicle, at times, even more! Earlier this vehicle used to have an engine that was used in the irrigation pumps which were used for farming. Even if this vehicle does not have an approval of the Road Transport Office, it is one of the most commonly and exhaustively used vehicle in the rural parts of India. Today the older Diesel engine has been replaced with the Motorcycle engine.
“Jugaad” means to create a better product or service by using available resources economically in a creative and in an innovative way. Jugaad is doing whatever is imperative in an economical way. Implementing the principle of “Survival of the fittest” is also a way of performing Jugaad.
In this century, in the first 12 years of it, we have witnessed massive changes taking place in different fields at different levels. The speed at which these changes are taking place is incomprehensible. People are finding it difficult to catch up with these changes. Besides protecting the values and principles of living life, if one is not able to adjust to these massive changes, one would soon cease to exist. Knowing the footsteps of these ever changing times, the acting editor, Dr. Aniruddha Joshi conducted a seminar for a select 17 people. It was conducted on two consecutive Mondays. Each participant was associated with a different field. Someone was a doctor, the other was an engineer. There were lawyers, professionals and management position holders from the corporate sector. Some were working for a private sector whereas some were working for a NGO. In a seminar that was conducted over 30 hours, Dr. Aniruddha introduced everyone to various topics. Many of the participants were oblivious to topics such as Attention Economy, Jugaad and Cloud Computing. While talking about Jugaad, Dr. Aniruddha said that in order to survive in the times to come, the strategy of Jugaad or the technique of Jugaad would be the sole technique one would be required to use. He said that the same technique would not only encompass all aspects of life but would also become an integral part of one’s life. He further added that it will prove to be a mark of one’s capability. And therefore, the corporate world has also felt the need to internalize this technique called “Jugaad.”
The world economy is in the phase of a slowdown. Several companies including the multinationals are concentrating on reducing operating expenses. Many organizations have expressed their unaffordability of research and development expenses. The latest technique of “Six Sigma” is falling short of fulfilling the need of the hour. Moreover, one is uncertain about the expenses as well as the expected outcome. There is fierce competition in the market place. In times such as these, several management experts as well as CEOs of Multinational companies have begun to use the “Jugaad” technique in their everyday working life. General electric (GE) and proctor & gamble (P&G) are the examples of such organizations.
In a book titled “Jugaad Innovation”, the authors namely Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Simone Ahuja and Kevin Roberts have described six fundamental principles of “Jugaad.” Anyone who is aspiring to be successful in one’s chosen field ought to read this book.
The six Jugaad Principles are described below.
1) Consider adverse circumstances and difficult situations as opportunities - SEEK OPPORTUNITY IN ADVERSITY
2) Use least amount of material and resources to increase one’s capability. - DO MORE WITH LESS
3) One must be able to manoeuvre one’s thoughts and thinking pattern. One must be able to think out of box and therefore, one must be open to accepting and evaluating new ideas and thoughts. - THINK & ACT FLEXIBLY
4) The solution to a question or a problem ought to be simple and uncomplicated. - KEEP IT SIMPLE
5) Consider the ignored aspects – Inclusion is a must - INCLUDE THE MARGIN
6) Do as your mind and heart tells you to do (definitely, consider all pros and cons) - FOLLOW YOUR HEART
Any action or any decision taken after considering all of the above principles would mean the most effective use of the principles of Jugaad. If one does not consider even a single principle, it may not be called Jugaad. Therefore “Jugaad” is a perfect mix of Science and Art.
After considering all aspects of Rammehersingh’s endeavor, one can definitely say that he used all the fundamental principles and techniques of Jugaad.
Once a person takes into account all of these fundamental principles, he could discover a unique and never thought about solution to a problem. Kanakdas hailing from Morigaon in Assam used these principles effortlessly to come up with a wonderful solution to his problem. In order to reach work every day, Mr. Kanakdas had to cycle on a road full of potholes. Repairing the roads was neither on his mind nor could he afford it. He could not have thought on those lines. Kanakdasji suffered from severe backache. However, he did not let go. He kept thinking about alternatives through which he could cycle on the same road to reach work. He kept thinking about the problem and an innovative cycle was born. Kanakdasji made few changes to his cycle. After making these changes, when this cycled began to move on the rough road full of potholes, the shock absorbers fitted in the front wheel created energy. This energy was supplied to the rear wheel to give it power and momentum. That meant the more it traversed through the rough road, the more energy got generated and with more energy, the cycle moved faster and more effortlessly on the same rough road. It saved Kanakdasji’s efforts. Moreover, it also saved the cyclist from feeling the potholes because the shock absorbers absorbed the shock of the rough road. Here Kanakdasji looked at his problem as an opportunity. He not only used least quantity of material and resources but he also came up with a solution that was affordable for a common man. It is even more interesting to observe that while doing all this, he had the requisite flexibility in his thoughts and actions. He brushed off his way of thinking and after considering all the alternatives, actually did what he felt right from the bottom of his heart.
Professor Shri. Gupta from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad came across this cycle. He helped Kanakdasji get the patent for the design of this cycle. Today, students from MIT have been researching the cycle to explore how it could be used to make self-sufficient vehicles. Such a vehicle would not only save fuel but also contribute in alleviating the problem of air pollution.
However, Kanakdasji is not the only person from India who has accomplished this. There are several people who have piloted such path-breaking endeavors. Pediatrician Dr. Satya Jaggannathan from Chengalpattu (Tamilnadu) was faced with an acute problem of incubators needed in rural parts. At that time, an incubator was priced at approximately rupees one lakh. It was not something people from rural areas could afford and needless to say, it indeed was one of the primary reasons for low mortality among infants. Dr. Jagannathan’s perseverance did not allow him to sit with his hands folded tight. With his acute sense of empathy, Dr. Jagannathan invented a unique, phenomenally low cost “Infant Warmer.” After making some changes, a unique incubator was made. It usually costs around Rupees 15000. Dr. Jagannathan has solved a huge problem that was facing the rural parts of India. He used an extraordinarily unconventional way to do this. It was indeed needed for him to think out of box in order to come with an idea of this magnitude.
The Indian corporate sector has begun using this technique of “Jugaad.” A true example of this is none other than the Tatas who have brought us the “Tata Nano.”
As of today, Tata Nano is the cheapest car in this world. A family of four would be commonly seen riding on a motorcycle in an Indian city. The then chairman of Tata Group, Mr. Ratan Tata had envisioned a car that could be comfortable, safe and could replace a two feeler. By using the technique of “Jugaad”, Tat Motors made the impossible possible by bringing out the Tata Nano. Tata Motors used “Frugal Engineering”, meaning a perfect equilibrium of conservative actions and technology, to accomplish its goal. The same line of thought was later practiced by the Managing Director of Tata Motors, Mr. Ravikant. Mr. Ravikant listened to his inner voice and moved the factory from Singur in West Bengal to Saanand in Gujarat when the political and social circumstances in west Bengal made it impossible for Tata Motors to erect a factory at Singur. He did not feel the need to take help from any so called Management Expert. He brought the factory set up time of 28 months to fourteen months and began his production. Mr. Ravikant used the techniques of “Jugaad” in their original form.
We can examine several such examples from the corporate world of India. The thoughts and ways of thinking that are required for implementing the techniques of Jugaad exist inherently in the minds of Indians who live in adverse circumstances quite commonly. All it needs is a certain direction and a definitive path. The concept of “Share a Taxi” or “Share a Rickshaw” is nothing but “Jugaad.” Passengers as well as the Taxi/Rickshaw drivers benefit from such arrangements. It also saves fuel; therefore it reduces air pollution and a result, it puts less strain on the traffic system in a city. The government has begun to recognize such a transport system. If one were to cite an example of a Multinational company, one can easily talk about General Electric (GE). The ECG machine manufactured by GE was expensive and complicated to use in Indian hospitals. Since it used to be heavy, it was not maneuverable at all. It was not only difficult to use but was also inoperable due to severe power shedding in India. GE engineers took on this challenge and came up with an innovative and a new ECG machine. The new Mac-400 was one fifth the weight of the older model and was also priced one tenth the cost of the older model. Since it was light in weight, it was not only transportable but also easily usable since it ran on a battery pack. One could take it easily to remote, rural areas of India. The President and CEO of GE Healthcare (India), Terri Bresenham’s view is that the invention need not rely on new progressive technology but it should be such that the new technology becomes affordable to a large population and it must actually reach to the common man.” The new Mac-400 precisely showed that it could do the same.
GE is an excellent example of how a multinational organization can use an indigenous technique such as “Jugaad.” Today, GE’s turnover in India is around Rs. 14.5 thousand crores. One can imagine the expanse of GE’s business reach in India alone.
In any corporation, the decision to manufacture a product is made after studying the target audience, their needs, and their wants. One can think about a multinational company “Nokia” and one can also look at their Mobile handset device no. “Nokia 1100.” Their ethnographers from India, Africa and Brazil put together the information on consumer usage patterns and their needs. The information was not encouraging at all for a company that intended to make mobile handheld devices. The people they profiled were people who could not afford to buy anything in the market; they lived in unhygienic conditions and were mostly illiterate. Essentially these people were blue color people from the lower economic strata of society. Since the areas they lived in had massive dust and poor electricity, the commonly available phones did not survive such harsh environment.
After procuring this information, these researchers and engineers began their work. They took on the challenge of making a mobile phone that this population, they thought, could afford.
And then came Nokia’s revolutionary mobile “Nokia 1100.” It could withstand extreme dusty environment. It did not have any sophisticated feature that a common, less educated person would not understand. The device could receive, make phone calls and could also send text messages. That’s all! The researchers who worked on this also realized that people who used phone in such areas also used them as torches. Therefore, they later included a torch as a feature in this model. This new feature was much appreciated in the market because the model became immensely popular among the targeted population and because it was easy to use, became equally popular among the working middle class as well. Unexpectedly, the phone became quite popular among truckers in India. Since the phone could be used as a torch, it was quite useful for the truckers if the truck broke down on the road during the dark hours. The model became so popular that in a short span, more than 25 crore phones were sold all over the world. This has been the highest record sale ever recorded for any model of a mobile handheld device.
Today, people have realized the importance of “Jugaad” like never before. At the beginning of this century, the world population was around 600 crore. Surprisingly, at the end of the first 12 years of this century, the world population has reached a 700 crore mark. Therefore, besides the shortage in food and grains, one is experiencing shortage in natural resources as well. This has had a direct impact on the cost of various products. Moreover, since everything is dependent on water and energy, the shortage of water and electricity has scared the daylights out of a person’s life. The competition in the market place is becoming fierce by the day. Consumers have become smarter and know exactly what they need. Since the consumer has multiple choices, every manufacturer has felt an increasing need to reduce the cost of the product and yet retain/maintain the quality. In situations such as these, the option of “Jugaad” is quite lucrative. It has almost become imperative for organizations to use this technique.
It has become imperative for people to use the technique of “Jugaad” regardless of whether the person is a factory laborer, farmer or a cattle farmer, corporate executive, an entrepreneur from a village, a conglomerate, social networking company. It has almost become a fundamental need of such people or institutions. One can see the condition of some ailing companies or of some European countries that have refused to use the approach of “Jugaad.”
One need not doubt that Indian society which is quite acclimatized with the approach of “Jugaad” due to its circumstances and environment would find itself naturally drawn towards adopting this approach. “Aadhi Te Savadhpan” was a thought Ramdas Swami presented to people. It is imperative to follow that advice for the time to come. Moreover, it is imperative to be in tune with whatever one has and to begin from that point. It is also necessary for one not to be complacent about what one has in possession but to strive harder using the concept of “Jugaad” to better oneself. Once this is done, one will not have to wait for success. Success would follow one soon after! Without any doubt!