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Theory of Jugaad

By Virender Kapoor
Jugaad as a word describing a concept of being street smart has been in existence for the last several decades. It has come up as a new buzz word, and has captured the imagination of Generation next in India as well as across the world. Though no formal literature existed on this enigmatic word it was being referred to in day to day conversations right from the corporate board rooms to the class rooms of Business schools. Regardless of what native language an Indian speaks, Jugaad is known to all and used by all. Criticisms have centered on whether Jugaad is an ethical tool or relies on unethical practices. Virender Kapoor in 2011 gave Jugaad a formal shape and position in the management and self improvement domain in his book The Rise and Rise of Jugaad; how ordinary people become extraordinarily successful. He also proposed a theory of Jugaad, giving a logical explanation to this concept, its origin and mapping it to some existing management theories. He has also argued in his book that Jugaad is an effective tool and a practical way forward towards success if used ethically.

Historical perspective and genesis of Jugaad.


The word Jugaad came into formal existence in the English sense of the word, after a contraption, a make do improvised tractor assembled by farmers from the villages of hinterland in India became immensely popular. It was made by mounting a diesel water pump on a chassis of a trolley and attaching it with a steering rod and a wheel; whereas a barrel or a drum placed on the trolley was used as a fuel tank. At a cost of less than Rs 20000/- it was a lifeline for the farmers who could not afford any other mechanical transport in those days. The above was the Physical manifestation of Jugaad .A solution was created for a seemingly impossible situation and a need .Gradually it became an inspiration to find a common sense solution or the out of the box solution to every, problem, person, thing or a situation. It took a meaning which was larger than life and was to express any and every human expertise in variety of context. This was the psychological manifestation of Jugaad. Today Jugaad has grown into a multi dimensional and a multifaceted word. Therefore trying to define the word will be an insult to the word itself. It is a concept a philosophy and even a way of life for many. This word has now become popular across the

world. Solving a problem somehow or the other with Jugaad at its core makes a Jugaad mind set. Jugaad as a word therefore defies any straight Jacketed definition .It connotes improvisation, creativity, thinking out of the box , resourcefulness, ingenuity, originality , novelty, inventiveness , lateral thinking , collaboration , contraption , intuitiveness , cutting corners ,achieving things against all odd somehow or being street smart. Jugaad is therefore perceived as a Swiss knife and represents Street Smart multiple intelligence. Jugaad mindset was best demonstrated in its mind set format in the movie The Good, the Bad and the ugly where actor Ali Wallach is caught up in a situation where he has to kill three captive goons but has only one bullet available with him. He takes his .45 caliber colt, making all three guys stand one behind the other and shoots the last guy in the back killing all three in one shot .Todays Jugaad is all in the mind.

Solution for seemingly complex problems


People face a number of problems every day. Most appear seemingly complex. We are conditioned to go through the logical motions to solve a problem as taught previously. Because of this conditioning we look for straight jacketed, run of the mill, as per the book sol utions. Most day to day problems dont have ready reckoner solutions in any book or, how to do, manuals. That is why they seem, very complex. Infact many problems have very simple solutions. A problem is defined as , source of perplexity , distress , irritation , concern or pain. Today Hard science definition of a problem is a conflict between two conditions or observations. The solution as per scientific analysis is a construct. If (this) then (that)

For example if I take a hot potato in my hand then I will burn my hand. If I wear a glove and take a hot potato in my hand them I will not burn my hand. The second construct is In order to ( do this ) I must ( do that ) .

In order not to burn my hand, I must wear a glove or I must not take hot potato in my hand; What to change, to what to change and how to change. This is more of an algorithmic approach. It is this approach which was the foundation of Artificial Intelligence and that is the way computers worked. Human mind works in a very complex manner. It follows a heuristic approach rather than a simple truth table based or algorithmic approach to solve a problem. Heuristic is more of experiential learning.

Wherever an exhaustive method or approach is impractical , heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a solution. Examples of heuristic approach would be intuitive judgement, common sense or a rule of thumb. Decision making especially when you have a problem at hand is very unpredictive. Two People confronted with a situation may behave in two complete diametrically opposite w

Problem solving axioms:


If five people are standing on a railway track and a train approaches, is it right to divert it on to a track where there is only one person? Most of us would say yes, do it. But what if we ask, would it be a good idea to push a person onto the track to prevent the train from killing five people? The answer in this case would be NO. Different responses for the same principle - sacrifice one life to save five. Our brain handles information differently than how a computer does. If a computer was presented with these two situations, the answer could be yes in both the cases. Because it looks at the number and not the context. Is there anything wrong to tip the waiter before he serves you a meal? in any case you would pay the same amount later - after you finish the meal and the bill is paid. In case you tip him before hand, you can expect a great service by keeping things transparent. This is an example of Jugaad mind or a jugaad approach. Everybody tips after the service because we are programmed as per the book. If you go outside the rule book, you can tip before hand and get a better service. Anyone who is good at applying jugaad to solve a problem is called a jugaadoo and every jugaadoo is a management guru, because he can manage day to day problems, effectively. Therefore there are no set rules, predefined axioms or principles to solve problems. Jugaad mindset lets you come out of the maze of problems and situations one faces every day. In a typical maze game there are a dozen entry points and only one entry point out of these twelve takes you to the exit point. You are asked to travel through the maze and locate that entry point which leads to the exit. In a normal course you would use the hit and trial method and try to find one by one an entry point that takes you to the exit. Jugaad mind set can tell you, that why dont you enter from the exit point ( after all it is a door only) and it will surely lead you straight to the entry point that connects to it in one shot the problem is solved. Jugaad is basically to do with the fact of how to approach a problem. That is where lateral thinking comes into play. It also looks for context based solutions.

Mapping Jugaad to the theory of Emotional Intelligence


Howard Gardner came up with the concept of multiple intelligence theory in his book frames of mind. He argued that Intelligence quotient was not sufficient to define human competence.

Human effectiveness cannot be bottled into a single format evaluation. Out of the many, two intelligences defined by Gardener are of direct relevance in theory of Jugaad. Interpersonal intelligence and intra personal intelligence which in simple terms means intelligences that give you the ability to understand and deal with yourself and to deal with others. Daniel Goleman built on Howard Gardners theory and defined five domains of Emotional Intelligence as under. Knowing your own emotions Managing your own emotions Recognizing and understanding other peoples emotional needs Managing emotions of others and relationship management Motivating yourself to achieve your desired goals One practical and simplistic definition of human intelligence is given by David Wechsler as The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and deal with his environment effectively. All the three above definitions have one common thread, namely dealing with people, yourself and environment (which implies people and situations) effectively. If we closely examine the word effectivelyit means producing desired or intended result. This means using resources, available means and methods under the prevailing circumstances and optimizing efforts to produce results under the most challenging conditions. One difference between the Jugaad thought process and the ordinary one is that of being effective or being ineffective in essence. In essence then, Jugaad is the highest form of Emotional Intelligence at one end of the intellectual understanding of human competence. At the lowest level of understanding Jugaad closely relates to common sense. Jugaad is thus a context based new intelligence.

Mapping Jugaad to the theory of constraints


Theory of constraints was first defined and described by Eliyahu M Goldratt in his book titled The Goal. It adopts the common idiom A chain is no stronger than the weakest link.

It urges you to study the system that has a problem and indentify the most serious constraint causing the problem. Then decide that how to exploit or handle that system constraint. There after subordinate everything else to the decision and elevate the system constraint (to highest priority) and handle it or neutralize the constraint. Once the most difficult constraint has been handled, go back to study the system to indentify the next most serious constraint. Do this iteratively till all constraints are handled. For example to optimize Production in a factory one needs to restructure the operations process so that most loaded machines (capacity constraint scenario)are at the first and front end of the process and then place the machines that have excess capacity downstream. Kanban is a scheduling system which was first conceived by Taiichi Ohno (of Toyota) who was credited with developing Just in Time Production. Kanban cards act as signals to maintain desired flow between demand and supply in any process. Demand for more is signaled by a Kanban card. In effect, these cards help to create demand driver system. Kanban cards, convey the need for more material. Therefore it becomes an as on requires basis or demand based system. Hence the whole process gets streamlined to an optimized system and there are no bottlenecks. Henry Ford devised the assembly line which was also a simple way to increase production but result of lateral thinking. Process of assembly line falls between invention and innovation. The idea was innovation but design of the conveyers etc required some inventions. Innovation is the psychological manifestation of human thought whereas invention is the Physical manifestation of thought. Jugaad mind set also looks for the weakest link in a situation. It attacks where it affects most. And that is why it can effectively solve a problem with the least amount of effort. That is the axiom of Jugaad.

Restructuring of a process 10units per/min 50 units /min 30 units output

No Pile up

50 units/min

10units /min

Pile up after 30 minutes

The India way


There are some very valid and strong reasons for jugaad to have come into being on the Indian soil. The major reasons for jugaad mindset of Indians are:-

Freedom and independence under very peculiar circumstances.


In the year 1947, the Indian sub continent was divided into two India & Pakistan. Almost 10 million people migrated from across the border adding a large number of refugees to an existing population of 200 million. This population settled down mostly in the northern parts of the country where they found a good cultural fit for themselves. Government was still to put its act together and top leadership lacked

any previous experience of running a nation. Handling such a large number of migrants was not any easy task. Though declared refugees, there was hardly any immediate worthwhile help or assistance provided to them by the government. Refugees refused to give up and showed tremendous resilience and an ability to bounce back after losing everything. It was a strong stock, mentally as well as physically and they instead of dependent on the government started to build their homes and businesses again right from a scratch. They never begged, were never dishonest but learnt to cut the coat according to the cloth they had. In simple words they learnt to manage their day to day affairs with a meagre and frugal means available to them. At the same time the existing population welcomed them with open arms, trying to support them wherever it was possible. Despite lack of resources and inability to rehabilitate so many, People refused to give up and made a difference to their own lives with their honest hard work and managing their day to day life. In a way north India huddled up together, stuck together as a large family, supporting each other, tolerating each others, weaknesses and harnessing the combined strengths to manage a tough journey to survival and eventual success. This is how the attitude of managing more with less manifested and was referred to as jugaad. If necessity is the mother of invention then, dire necessity is the mother of jugaad.

Hofstedes cultural dimensions theory and Jugaad mindset


Professor Geert Hofstede Proposed a frame work of assessing and differentiating national cultures which was popularly known as cultural dimensions theory, which analyzed data on the worlds values and cultures. Culture is the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others. His book cultures and organizations: software of the mind considers cultural dimensions across 76 countries. Out of six dimensions enumerated in this theory there are three which are directly related to the theory of Jugaad mindset. In fact Jugaad is also a peculiar cultural dimension of India.

Power Distance Index (PDI)


Power distance reflects how people perceive power differences in a society. Power distance is the extent to which the less, powerful members of society, organizations or institutions like family, a village accepts and expects that power is distributed equally. Cultures with low power distance, position every one as a flat organization and power relations are more consultative or democratized and people relate to each other more as equals. Therefore there is no need to get around someone in the system. In case PDI is high the system or society is hierarchical, autocratic and paternalistic. Subordinates acknowledge and obey orders or desires of people placed higher in the hierarchy, automatically.

In India the PDI has always been high, due to concepts of head of the family, a village sarpanch and even the cast system, positions people in hierarchical slots. In such a system either you obey or you manage your way through the hierarchy. For example the head of the family is not very easy to convince or to even get a favor out of. This means to get your work done or get your point accepted, you need to take a different approach unlike a society where parents are easily accessible and often treated as equals by children the moment they become adults. Such restricted environment forces you to find ways and means to explore and exploit the hierarchy. And Jugaad becomes a means to manage the hierarchy.

Individualism VS Collectivism:
Here again some individualistic societies encourage a person to fight for his or her own rights, privacy and space. In contrast, collectivism type of cultures, individuals acts as per the dictate of the lifelong and cohesive, group or organization. Here an individual is extended protection in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. In individualism, people have a personal say, fight for their own rights and take own decisions. In collectivism decisions are taken for the larger good; which prevails in India. Therefore it is a conformist society and if you want to stay within this group & yet have your way, you need to manage your way.

Masculinity VS Feminity
Masculine culture values are competitiveness, assertiveness, materialism, ambition, power and quantity of life. In contrast feminine culture positions its values around quality of life, relationships, modesty and caring. The western world largely has a masculine culture whereas Indians have always cared to be close as family. Indians have never been aggressively progressive as a race and believed in live and let live. Indians have been tolerant even with their own mistakes. Indian judiciary has been a little mild and never harsh on the guilty. The belief to err is human was followed in letter and spirit, by the whole society.

Super culture and Sub cultures of India


India has a super culture of tolerance, family values, emotional outlook, caring for others and warmth. Within this super culture at a national level there are subcultures like North, South, East and West. These cultures are now getting mixed and soon would merge with each other as one. Such a culture gave rise to an attitude of live and let live as most of Indians were in the same boat.

Advantages of this super culture which taught Indians to manage their way despite not so good governance; poor infrastructure and lack of resources were many. The happiness Quotient of India is high. As per a marketing research company IPSOS, a social Research Institute which took a sample of 23000 people to come to the conclusion that Indians are ranked 4th happiest after residents of Netherland, Canada and Australia. It is not surprising that this study goes well with the old adage Happiness is a state of mind. Here family warmth, little unregulation, freedom to move and do what you want are some major reasons for happiness. Though Pakistan, India and Bangladesh were part of the same nation or subcontinent- the undivided India the behavior and its outcome in their cases is different. Pakistan and Bangladesh have gone through several military coups. Why India never faced one? The armed forces were trained in similar training establishments with similar British upbringing and ethos. In a book civilian control of military written in 1976, edited by Claude E. Welch the presented arguemented is very intriguing. It presents a study of 10 countries like Guyana, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Finland, Mexico, China, Japan, Lebanon and Chile. Each chapter written as an essay describes relation between civilians in power and the top army brass. Stephen Cohens essay on India in this context expresses astonishment as to why there has been no civil unrest leading to a civil war or a military coup in India. It did not happen because Indians could avoid that dipping Point where the frustration levels go high enough to trigger a coup or a civil war, this could be avoided because India and Indians learn to manage things on their own. They found ways to do more with less, they used improvisation, adaptive abilities to progress with lesser resources and yet lived happily for most of the time.

Fuzzy logic analogy for Jugaad.


Fuzzy logic deals with reasoning that is approximate rather than absolute or exact. The traditional theory of logic uses binary sets having two valued logic as true or false. Whereas fuzzy logic has truth values that range between 0 and 1, thus handles partial truth. It to an extent deals with imperfect truth or partial truth where the truth value may range from completely true to completely false. Fuzzy logic has been applied to artificial intelligence- how it can imitate function of a human mind. Terminology used in Fuzzy logic and examples are based on perception rather than measurement, like very low, decreasingly, unreasonable or low cost etc. In fact life situations are more like fuzzy logic and everything- situations, people, behavior, likes, dislikes have that somewhat factor in them and do not necessarily work in a binary fashion. Jugaad also works or Jugaad mind set looks at real life Problems the fuzzy logic way.

Chanakyas Principles of Diplomacy and Jugaad


To handle people, situations and relationships is the hallmark of diplomacy. Chanakyas principles of diplomacy can be applied to break any dead lock, conflict, problem existing between people or groups of

people. Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed is a four word philosophy of chanakya to handle a person or a situation. Briefly these four words mean as under. Saam- to resolve a conflict by explaining your point to your opponent and by a dialogue. Daam- if dialogue doesnt work then it suggests using money, gift or any materialistic way to lure and resolve the issue. Dand- if both the above fail, one can try punishment or penalty or pain to the other party to give in. Bhed- create differences between the people in the opposition or divide and rule. Jugaad is in a way extension of Chanakyas Principles of Diplomacy, to handle people, problems and situations on a day to day basis.

References. 1. Virender Kapoor. Rise and Rise of Jugaad: How ordinary people become extraordinary successful. 2. Business Today (December 11, 2011): A world of Jugaad. 3. DARE (June, 2011): Sheflife. The Rise and Rise of Jugaad. 4. Business India (December 13, 2010): Just Jugaad. 5. Hindu Business Line (Feb 20, 2011): Fix to fit. 6. Business Today (September 18, 2011): Business in Imperfect India. 7. The Week (July 31, 2011): the Elusive X factor. 8. Management Next (April, 2011): page 57 9. TIMES - Life Sunday (November 27, 2011) - Simply Jugaad. 10. Pune Mirror: Times of India (June10, 2011) Wake up call. 11. Gardner Howard (1983) Frames of mind: the theory of multiple Intelligence New York Basic books. 12. Daniel Goleman : Emotional Intelligence : Why it can matter more than IQ (1996). 13. http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/dec2009/id2009121_864965.htm 14. www.virender kapoor.com