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Frugal innovation vs Jugaad

2.97 K Views | Rishi Kashyap | 1 FOLLOW

    Frugal innovation vs Jugaad


    Frugal Innovation or Jugaad technology is a popular buzzword in corporate world and internet these days. While internet is full of improvised arrangements, corporates are more interested in Frugal innovation to tap the "Bottom of pyramid" (BOP) mass (Recommended reading "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid"). India and other developing countries like Brazil, Africa have continuously innovated to cope up with everyday problems with most economical and robust "Jugaad Technology".

    Jugaad is an Indian hindi word, meaning to find a workaround for getting things done, specially without proper resources. While Jugaad techniques started with inexpensive technical innovation, today it is spoken in negative sense to bend rules for achieving results.

    Frugal Innovation on other hand is about inexpensive techniques developed for resource lacking environment for which there is already big demand. Most Frugal innovation products are used either in villages where there is no electricity or used by people with less money.

    To understand basic difference try comparing a Jugaad Vehicle with Tata Nano. A Jugaad vehicle might use diesel irrigation pump on steel frame with wheels. Of course these Jugaad vehicle cannot confirm with vehicular regulation, not tested and risky. TATA Nano on the other hand is tested vehicle which re-invented car design to give more interior space. With intention to tap middle class section of developing nation, NANO was launched in India at a price of almost 2000 USD ! Below I am adding some Frugal innovation and Jugaad technology pics.Frugal innovation vs Jugaad

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      X Frugal Innovation products

      The thin line between Frugal innovation and Jugaad technology goes more blur when Jugaad takes an organized approach to sell Frugal Innovation products to masses. Below are some Frugal Innovations which gained mass acceptance

      1. Vehicles
        TATA Nano has to top the list in most innovative Frugal car ever made. With engines shifted in the rear of car and more interior space inside, it challenges most medium sized car present in India. It was priced at almost 2000 USD at its time of launch which is half the price of cheapest hatchback cars then. Check details of TATA Nano. Another vehicle of Frugal innovation is Tata Ace (India’s largest-selling light commercial vehicle), infact it was the grand success of TATA Ace which led to the development of TATA Nano.

      2. Lights
        How would you light a bulb with limited electricity or none at all. Frugal Innovation has the answer ! SELCO INDIA is providing solution to Indian Villages with less or no electricty with their SOLAR Panels, SOLAR Water Heaters and Solar inverter and lights. These panels have been installed in more than 1,35,000 homes till date and counting.

        What if there is no sunlight. In comes another frugal innovation GravityLight. Gravity light runs on gravity, you lift a weight and on its descent you get full 25 minutes of light.

        D Light boasts of 34,455,217 installations while Litre of light with 15,000 installation in Philippines alone, can create solar bulbs with empty bottles, water and bleach. Each frugal innovation touches life of large untapped market, ignored by conglomerate!

      3. Refrigerators
        80% Indians are still unable to use a refrigerator due to shortage of electricity. Godrej did frugal innovation and made Chotukool. This 35 Litres refrigerator consumes 62W and runs both on AC and DC (read battery / inverter). But what if there is no electricity at all ! Mansukhbhai Prajapati created Mitti cool refrigerator. It is made of clay and promises to preserve food, vegetables and milk for days. Based simply on evaporation principle it has a chamber on top from where water trickles down and evaporates making the inner chamber naturally cooled. Forbes considers this innovator among top 7 rural entrepreneurs in India and more than 5000 mitticool refrigerators sold till date and counting. While chotukool is priced about 70 USD, mitticool comes at about 50 USD !

      4. Medical and health
        As more and more 5 star hospitals are opening in metros, villagers are getting blessed with more and more frugal innovation. Jaipur foot has touched more than 1.3 million lives and counting. An artificial limb at BMVSS costs as low as 45 USD compared with thousands of dollars in USA. Jaipur foot was initially made by a temple sculptor with rubber, wood, tyre and kept improving allowing its users to sit, squat, skate, climb trees, run, drive and you name it ! This Frugal innovation is a revolution which changed the prosthesis market around the world.

        GE Healthcare understands this large market in India and its R & D innovated GE ECG Machine at a price about 800 USD in contrast to normal ECG Machine of about 5000 USD. With frugal innovation they focused on bare essential features and portability to make it available at distant hospitals in country. GE Vscan was also developed as a handheld ultrasound scanner at almost quarter of price of a normal ultrasound.

        Clock Sense from Frugal digital can measure basic health data like haemoglobin in the blood, pulse, temperature, respiration rate, sugar etc. To make it handy it is made just like an analog clock and displays health in 3 colours, red indicating immediate medical checkup and green indicating good health.

        Frugal innovation is not only about product creation it is also about process improvement. No wonder Narayana Hrudayalaya clinic in India is striving to conduct heart surgery at 800 USD. 5 star hotels oops hospitals in India charge more than 6000 USD for same operation. Same goes for quality cataract operation at Sankara Nethralaya.

      5. Mobile phones
        If there is one field where frugal innovation is ubiquitiously seen its mobile cellphone world. While I-phone might have created the best smart phone, frugal innovation led to get almost same features in android phones. Today Micromax, Spice, Lava, Xolo, Intex, Karbonn etc. sell more phones together than Samsung or I-Phone. Concentrating on BOP people has made Micromax not only govern the Phone chip industry but also expand in various countries. Frugal innovation has made smart phones within reach of everyone and today smartphones are available for less than 150 USD.

      6. Mobile payment
        M-pesa from Africa has changed Micro-finance in developing world all by the power of SMS. M-Pesa is a branchless banking service, designed to enable users to complete basic banking transactions without visiting a bank branch. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service, which still is less expensive than doing banking in the normal sense. By 2012, a stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya alone. Today M-pesa has spread to south Africa, India, Afghanistan and eastern Europe.
      The list is endless, a low cost projector by Frugal digital, or bamboo windmill by Mehtar Hussain and Mushtaq Ahmed to pump water from paddy fields or motorcycle-based tractor by Mansukhbhai all eyeing a big market ignored by corporates. These Frugal innovation products are result of out of box thinking and are not only inexpensive and eco-friendly but also saves money by requiring less maintenance.Frugal Innovation products

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        X Jugaad technology Products

        Jugaad technology products shown below are created not only to cut down cost but is an improvisation of some famous product. Neither are these jugaad technology safe nor are they better than original product. Most Jugaad technology are dependent on abundant local availability of resource or lack of particular raw material. Internet is filled with these Jugaad technology and mixing Frugal innovation and Jugaad technology. There is a thin line which differentiates them, that is the market demand. None of these can be scaled up yet they became popular in internet as these Jugaad technology are entertaining and witty ;-).Jugaad technology Products

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          X Why Frugal innovation rules

          Some MBA Experts think Frugal Innovation is a passing fad! Bill Gate said the same thing about Internet and Google came into picture. Infact Google too can be placed in this Frugal innovation rule during initial days, when they were asked to move their website from college server they used old junk computers with duct tapes in their garage. Google became magnate of Internet and online world today.

          Nokia tapped the Bottom of Pyramid by their NOKIA 1100 model in India. Model 1100 removed all high-fi features and concentrated on simple handy features like led light in their phone at an affordable range for villagers in India. Nokia later expanded into high class society ignoring middle class which led to Chinese mobiles enter BOP and yet again tap middle class masses in developing countries. These mobiles did frugal innovation not only to make cheaper mobile phones but added features which mattered the most e.g. long battery life. Nokia did not innovate, their strategy to remove some features to cut down cost did not help them when phones with better features came at half the price. Today Micromax an Indian mobile company is expanding into developing countries and many frugal phones without brands are selling more than Samsung or IPhone.

          Frugal innovation is the future ! While some highly educated executives may ignore it, NGO and organization like Frugal Digital in Denmark, GIAN in India, NESTA in UK are helping these frugal innovation to scale up and get organized for bigger battle with corporates. Companies like GE Healthcare, TOYOTA Energy, TATA, Godrej, Siemens, Philips are understanding this and are investing in R&D for better frugal products.

          The biggest myth with Frugal innovation is that it is all about cutting cost ! BOP are cost conscious masses but they want risk free solutions with low recurring cost than cheap products! The product needs to solve a regular problem. They are ready to pay if the frugal product can improve their life, with low cost overhead, have essential features and minimum maintenance. TATA had to change their tagline for Nano from "World cheapest car" which made it loose trust to "City Car", "Nano twist experience awesomeness" and "Best Mileage Small Car". A 100 USD Laptop does not solve any problem in rural India where there is no electricity and hence does not have market.

          While Frugal innovation and Jugaad technology is considered new thing in some developed countries, it is neither unique nor new. Just a logical thinking will make you realize that it always existed. In very simple terms it means innovation for masses not classes. Maruti ruled Indian Car industry by its Maruti 800, Bollywood makes masala movies for everyone ! People use strange jargon for this simple philosophy. Some call it social entrepreneurship (recommended reading :I have a dream by Rashmi Bansal) some call it Frugal innovation. Think about it "Whatsapp",a no frill Mobile app may very well be considered as a Frugal product which gained mass acceptance not only because of its inexpensive nature but for simple essential features. Whatsapp focused on essential Frugal innovation (Recommended How does whatsapp make money).

          Frugal innovation wants patience, it works in an unconventional manner and targets everyone from BOP to top. It demands innovation mixed with technical and local environment knowledge. Frugal innovation or Jugaad technology is perhaps best described by MarkidesBy breaking the rules of the game and thinking of new ways to compete, a company can strategically redefine its business and catch its bigger competitors off guard. The trick is not to play the game better than the competition but to develop and play an altogether different game.So whats your views about Frugal innovation / Jugaad Technology ?

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            tags  LIFE AS IT IS MIXED