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A friend directed me to an interesting blog by Neil Wilkof, IP partner at Herzog Fox Neeman, a leading legal firm.   

Wilof’s blog is titled: “Will Jugaad” Lead the Way in Indian Technology and IP?”

What is Jugaad? Wilof cites Wikipedia:

“Jugaad … are locally made motor vehicles that are used mostly in small villages as a means of low cost transportation in India. Jugaad literally means an arrangement or a work around, which have to be used because of lack of resources. This is a Hindi term also widely used by people speaking other Indian languages, and people of Indian origin around the world. The same term is still used for a type of vehicle, found in rural India. This vehicle is made by carpenters, by fitting a diesel engine on a cart. …. They are known for having poor brakes and cannot go beyond 60 km/h. They operate on diesel fuel and are just ordinary water pump sets converted into engine. The brakes of these vehicles very often fail and one of the passengers jumps down and applies a manual wooden block as a brake. ….

“Jugaad” is also colloquial Hindi word that can mean an innovative fix, often pejoratively used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such or a person who can solve a vexatious issue. It is used as much for enterprising street mechanics as for political fixers. In essence, though, it is a tribute to native genius, and lateral thinking…”

Wilof recounts his own “jugaad” experience in Bangalore, when his eyeglasses broke, and a cab driver stopped at a shop and fixed them with some adhesive. 

Does “jugaad” remind you of Israeli “chutzpah” and “iltur” (improvisation)?  

A perennial question is, should one bet on India or on China in the Great Innovation Race?

Jugaad suggests: Bet on India.

An Indian "jugaad" - improvised vehicle

An Indian "jugaad" - improvised vehicle

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Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
July 2009
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