Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Jugaad Innovation- Think Frugal, Be Flexible…

This book is another example of western business practise starting to look eastward for inspiration and it will be one of many in the coming years.

'Jugaad' is a Hindi word meaning basically 'an innovative fix.'  The authors expand this notion by concentrating on five key points: seek opportunity in adversity, do more with less, think and act flexibly, keep it simple, include the margin and follow your heart.

Now the ungenerous may think this sounds like a mantra from an AA 12 steps meeting- I can just see in a couple of years time a group of business men sat in a 'power-circle' and one standing up and saying 'Hi I'm Paul and today I am going to be flexible and frugal'- but to be fair to this book it does make some very good points and is well presented.

The bottom line is western business- particularly the corporations- have a lot to lean from the lean and mean, thinking on their feet competitors in the emerging markets.  A very good section of this book mercilessly details all the failings of our current western business model right up to CEO level and this section alone should be required reading for all senior managers in the developed world.

Essentially though, the message of this book is simple and really just common sense for anyone in business.  Be economical with your resources, be modest in your own extraction of value from the business, think on your feet, aim to be customer inclusive and market responsive and continually keep looking over your shoulder at the competition.  It's not rocket science, but the fact that western big business finds it difficult to tick many if any of the above boxes perhaps shows how vital books like these-with or without it's eastern wisdom allusions- are these days.  In particular for UK and US readers, perhaps it should be sub-titled 'Get Back To Basics....Or Else.'

So this is a good, intriguing and insightful book, even if it does state the obvious.  Give it a go.