3 Ways Jugaad Can Unlock Achievement

3 Ways Jugaad Can Unlock Achievement

By Ninad Sheth
The most Indian of lifehack concepts lets you think differently, achieve more with less, and step up as a gutsy problem-solver.

Whoever said, “there are no shortcuts in life” obviously wasn’t familiar with jugaad. This uniquely Indian concept has been making waves in business thinking around the world. Even theHarvard Business Review has lavished praise on it, calling it “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.”

Think of jugaad as a mindset that can help you achieve great results in a creative way. In our global survey, 16% of Indians say that fear and anxiety keep them from living fully. So stay gutsy, think outside the box and use life’s little glitches as an opportunity to have fun. Here’s what jugaad can do for you.

1. Do more with less

Jugaad is about small solutions that ripple into powerful impacts. In one case, as this article notes, Indian mobile phone users are sidestepping time-consuming calls (and expensive phone bills) by using simple missed calls to communicate pre-arranged messages. How can you communicate without speaking? Well, as the authors explain:

“Think of this as free textless text messaging. For example, your carpooling partner may give you a missed call in the morning indicating he […] is on his way to pick you up.”

Quick tip: We’ve all been in conference calls where people strain to hear a voice on a loudspeaker whose volume is frustratingly weak. The solution? Don’t buy an expensive new high-tech system. Just pop the phone into an (empty!) glass. This mini-echo chamber will amplify the volume. It works great for boosting your morning alarm signal, too.

2. Give voice to an offbeat notion

 Gopal Singh Chuhan, who runs a products and industrial photography business in New Delhi, says, “the client is king” — which can sometimes cause problems.

“One time we needed a background shimmer effect to shoot a session. The client wanted the shot minus the expense.” His team wracked their brains, but the solution was staring them in the face all along. “There were water sprinklers all around the ground and we hit upon our jugaad.”

Their innovative fix? They watered the whole lawn and stopped the drains, waterlogging the grass and creating a shimmer effect. “To set up the same effect with aluminium foil scaffolding on the ground would have cost 100,000 rupees or more. The results were perfect.”

The lesson: sometimes the answer is right there let yourself be creative, and give voice to an offbeat notion. Sometimes that first unusual idea lets you loosen up and think more freely.

3. DIY

 There’s a saying that goes: If it’s a crazy solution that works, then it’s not crazy. And in a world where the average job is lived out on a computer screen, inventing on the fly is a chance to enjoy an instant, satisfying hands-on solution, however kooky. Like:

- A Styrofoam cup with holes punched in it. Don’t have a teabag to hold loose tea leaves? Drop the leaves in the ventilated Styrofoam cup and dip it into your mug.

- A suntan lotion ‘wallet’. Don’t want to be robbed when you’re spending a day at the pool or beach? Use a clean suntan lotion bottle to store valuables.

- A DIY clothes steamer. Finally, your too-small bathroom comes in use! Next time you’re enjoying a hot shower, hang your wrinkled clothes on the back of the closed door. The steam will iron out creases.

So open your own mind, and you’ll see possibilities wherever you look. We’ll leave you with the words of Professor Jaideep Prabhu, author of Jugaad Inovvation, in this article about embracing jugaad. “There has to be a certain element of craziness, uncertainty and space for serendipitous learning.”