JUGAAD the Robinson Crusoe Style of Innovation.
Makeshift product innovation: “from whatever resources available”
‘Jugaad’ is quite a popular word in the Indian design & development community.
JUGAAD is also a local name for a makeshift automobile built by some smart technicians in Northern India, (I am sure there will be another Avatar of the same in South having another name too) This vehicle has a self-built (or some old truck) chassis, the driving torque comes from some diesel powered water pump acting like the engine. Entirely built with ‘whatever resources available from parts from other vehicles to old furniture parts and so on.
The Robinson Crusoe style desperation to survive and make things work for oneself is the basic driving force for such type of innovation.
In India, you will see ample examples of JUGAAD especially created by innovative micro business owners and entrepreneurs. Using a working cycle being modified to work with a knife sharpening machine or use of a scooter as a mini fruit juice shop or a small mobile restaurant which are seen on many tourist spots across the country are only a few examples of JUGAAD.
The bottom line of JUGAAD is making use of whatever resources available, and making, designing products, systems which solve everyday problems.
Frankly, as a designer, I am impressed by this spirit of innovation these entrepreneurs are having.
This type of innovation is more of a problem-solving nature, where while solving a larger problem of winning daily bread, the innovators come up with fascinating solutions which may not come out if one is working on a drawing board. Characteristics of such innovation are
1. This is extempore
2. This does not happen on Drawing board, in A/C cabins
3. There are no trained designers, engineers involved; well at no design tools too.
4. Happens in the field hands on.
5. Borrowing, adopting ideas is the key
6. Start with ‘whatever resources available’ may be starting point is ‘Junk yard’
7. The objective is not innovation, but it happens in the process of getting the work done, somehow!
8. Innovation matures, as and when more needs come up, more components are added and so on.