‘Jugaad’ – India’s answer to Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Jugaad- India’s answer to Minimum Viable product

Recently, I was attending a webinar highlighting the importance of “Design thinking” for start-ups. One of the panelists mentioned Jugaad’s philosophy and it inspired me to re-write my previous article on “Jugaad – a frugal & flexible way to innovate” with the context of the current pandemic of Covid19.

As most of you are aware that I always touch upon topics that relate to either Entrepreneurship, Retailing, Brand management & Leadership. I feel, my current topic would help upcoming entrepreneurs to start their ventures in the most economical way.

What is Jugaad?

Jugaad is a Hindi word that loosely translates as “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.”

Jugaad is an antidote to the complexity of India: a country of mind-blowing diversity; pervasive scarcity of all kinds; home to million millionaires (aims to reach by 2020, 1 million millionaires mark)

Jugaad is based on six fundamental pillars:

1.   Seek opportunity in adversity

2.   Do more with less

3.   Think and act flexibly

4.    Keep it simple

5.    Include the margin

6.    Follow your heart.

Jugaad during times of covid19

Looking at the positive side of the pandemic, it has made people more creative.

Check the picture of one of the elevators wherein the toothpick is being used to press the floor buttons in order to avoid surface touches.

jugaad during covid19

To cater to the emergencies of hospitals in terms of beds, an Indian company has designed beds made of cardboard boxes. Watch the video here.

YouTube video

Jugaad innovators innovate faster:


Jugaad innovators don’t use linear, pre-planned, time-consuming R&D processes. Rather, they rely heavily on rapid prototyping techniques — i.e., they collaborate intimately with customers and use their constant feedback to zero in on the most relevant product features.


Jugaad innovators innovate cheaper:

Jugaad innovators are highly resourceful in the face of scarcity. Unlike many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, raising capital is the least of their worries.  The practitioners of Jugaad work with what they have got.

Jugaad innovators innovate better:

Jugaad innovators recognize that consumers in emerging markets are low earners, but high yearners.

To explain the concept, I would like to mention a few case studies of Jugaad innovators cum entrepreneurs as to how they have dealt with situations and innovated to make the lives of their customers easier.

Case study 1: Using adversity to own advantage:

Kanak das, a resident of North East Indian state, grew riding his bicycle on roads full of potholes & bumps, rather than complaining, he turned this constraint to his advantage by retrofitting his bicycle with a makeshift device that converts the shocks received from bumpy roads to kinetic energy which accelerates the bicycle…. Allowing his bicycle to run faster on bumpy roads.

Case study 2: Jugaad gave birth to a completely new business:

In 1980, a businessman Mr. Tulsi Tanti set up a textile unit in Surat, sooner he found himself facing the bottlenecks like power shortages.

Alternatively, He compensated by producing power through generators but resulted in very high running costs due to high fuel prices in India.

His profit margin was a mere 5% wherein his power & fuel bill used to run up to 45-50% of overall operating costs.

Mr. Tanti immediately moved towards wind power by installing air wind turbines in his unit, resulting in uninterrupted power supply and reduced operating costs. (Also the initial investment of installing wind turbines were recovered in the first year itself from the savings generated from power & fuel costs).

Mr. Tanti realized the power of wind turbines and industry in feeding the power-starved country and its rural villages.

This very thought gave birth to a business whom we have known as “Suzlon wind”.

Today, Suzlon is the world’s fifth-largest wind energy solution provider. The company operates in thirty countries over 6 continents.

Learn how to make your brand stand out from the clutter, read here.

Case study 3: Mitti-cool refrigerator:

Mitti-cool refrigerator

Jugaad innovator Prajapati (resident of Kutch region in Gujarat), post-2001 earthquake wherein his entire village was destroyed.

He noticed that they were left with no source of providing residents with cool water options.

Being a clay artisan himself, he developed the world’s first sustainable, eco-friendly refrigerator “Mitti-cool”.



Mitti means clay, his refrigerator is divided into two chambers, the water from the top chamber seeps through the inner sidewalls, cooling the lower food chamber through evaporation.

The refrigerator is 100% bio gradable, uses zero electricity… an ingenious invention.

Today Prajapati’s Mitti-coolers are available in rural Indian villages and soon it would be exported to the African region.

Simplicity is the new mantra for success.

Learn about quarantined economics, click here.

I hope my article would help in giving directions to business owners and retailers in the Middle Eastern region & would force them to think differently and innovatively with their existing businesses.

In case you want to brainstorm and understand Jugaad concept more holistically, you may reach me on riteshmohan@yahoo.com

(Reference book – Jugaad Innovation by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, and Simone Ahuja. I thank & salute the writers for bringing out the most unique feature of our Indian ecosystem so creatively and innovatively)


About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 20 years in the retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in beauty, fashion and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. He specializes in Retail management, Product development, Brand management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, Business Management & Empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.