CIGB publications

Frugal innovation

How to do more with less

Navi Radjou & Jaideep Prabhu
published by The Economist, February 2015

Frugalinnovation cover.

Frugal innovation is a way that companies can create high-quality products with limited resources. Once the preserve of firms in poor markets, Western companies are now seeking ways to appeal to cost-conscious and environmentally aware consumers at home. With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for frugal products, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionising business and reshaping management thinking.

This groundbreaking book explains the principles, perspectives and techniques behind frugal innovation, enabling managers to profit from the great changes ahead.

“Frugal Innovation” offers valuable insights for business leaders everywhere who are facing a familiar challenge: how to do more with less and generate sustainable value for customers, shareholders and society. To stay relevant in an increasingly digital world, organisations must embrace a frugal approach to innovation in order to increase productivity and agility, create competitive advantage and ultimately fuel growth.

Pierre Nanterme, Chairman & CEO, Accenture

Jugaad innovation

Think frugal, be flexible, generate breakthrough growth

Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu & Simone Ahuja
published by Jossey-Bass, April 2012

Jugaad innovation penguin edition cover.

Jugaad: /jü-’gäd/

Hindi word meaning an innovative fix; an improvised solution born from ingenuity and resourcefulness. Also known as DIY in the US, Gambiarra in Brazil, zizhu chuangxin in China, and Systeme D in France.

Innovation is a major directive at corporations worldwide. But how do you drive innovation and growth as the global business landscape becomes increasingly unpredictable and diverse? Western corporations can no longer just rely on the old formula that sustained innovation and growth for decades: a mix of top-down strategies, expensive R&D projects and rigid, highly structured innovation processes. Jugaad Innovation argues that the West must look to places like India, China, and Africa for a new, bottom-up approach to frugal and flexible innovation.

Building on their deep experience of innovation practices with companies in the US and around the world, the authors articulate how jugaad (a Hindi word meaning an improvised solution born from ingenuity and cleverness), is leading to dramatic growth in emerging markets – and how Western companies can adopt jugaad to succeed in our hypercompetitive world.

Delving into the mindset of jugaad innovators, the authors discuss the six underlying principles and show these principles in action by sharing previously untold stories of resourceful jugaad entrepreneurs and innovators in emerging markets. These include the story of Mansukh Prajapati, an Indian villager who invented an affordable fridge made entirely of clay, and of M-PESA, a service that enables millions of Kenyans to save, spend, and transfer money using their cell phones without having a bank account.

The authors also describe how forward-thinking Western firms like 3M, Apple, Best Buy, Facebook, GE, Google, IBM, and PepsiCo are already applying these principles of jugaad to innovate faster, cheaper and better. From Procter & Gamble’s reinvention of its core business model to profitably serve economically marginalised American consumers to Renault-Nissan’s focus on designing cars that cost less but deliver more value, the Western firms profiled in the book show how you can win by practicing jugaad.

A groundbreaking book, Jugaad Innovation shows leaders everywhere why the time is right for jugaad to emerge as a powerful business tool in the West – and how to bring the jugaad mindset and practices to their organisations.

“Jugaad Innovation” goes farther than conventional business books that chart consumer growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China. It explains how emerging economies are pioneering the art of “frugal engineering”, then it provides practical tips on how Western companies – from tech startups to multinational industrial corporations – can likewise do more with less. A provocative and entertaining read for 21st century business leaders.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan

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Jiang, N., Kattuman, P. and Kotia, A. (2017) “Polarisation and reversion under competition: profitability of Indian firms.” International Journal of the Economics of Business (DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2017.1290750) (published online Mar 2017; forthcoming in print)

Sahay S. and Walsham, G. (2017) “Information technology, innovation and human development: hospital information systems in an Indian state.” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (DOI: 10.1080/19452829.2016.1270913) (published online Jan 2017; forthcoming in print)

Koh, H. and Prabhu, J.C. (2016) “Scaling up inclusive markets.” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring

Banerjee, S., Prabhu, J.C. and Chandy, R.K. (2016) “Indirect learning: how emerging-market firms grow in developed markets.” Journal of Marketing, 79(1): 1-28 (DOI: 10.1509/jm.12.0328)

Bocken, N.M., Fil, A. and Prabhu, J.C. (2016) “Scaling up social businesses in developing markets.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 139: 295-308 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.08.045)

Prabhu, J.C. and Jain, S. (2015) “Innovation and entrepreneurship in India: understanding jugaad.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4): 843-868 (DOI: 10.1007/s10490-015-9445-9)

Ernst, H., Kahle, H.N., Dubiel, A., Prabhu, J.C. and Subramaniam, M. (2015) “The antecedents and consequences of affordable value innovations for emerging markets.” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 32(1): 65-79 (DOI: 10.1111/jpim.12171) 

Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J.C. and Vargo, S. (2015) “Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions.” MIS Quarterly, 39(1): 135-154

Kahle, H.N., Dubiel, A., Ernst, H. and Prabhu, J.C. (2013) “The democratizing effects of frugal innovation: implications for inclusive growth and state-building.” Journal of Indian Business Research, 5(4): 220-234 (DOI: 10.1108/JIBR-01-2013-0008)

Radjou, N. and Prabhu, J.C. (2012) “Mobilizing for growth in emerging markets: to reach the “next billion” consumers, multinational companies will need to move beyond value chain localization and create new networks of local partners.” MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(3): 81-88 

Ward, J., Hepburn, C., Anthoff, D., Baptist, S., Gradwell, P., Hope, C. and Krahe, M. (2012) “Self-interested low-carbon growth in Brazil, China, and India.” Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, 4(3): 297-318 (DOI: 10.1177/0974910112460436)

George, G., McGahan, A.M. and Prabhu, J.C (2012) “Innovation for inclusive growth: towards a theoretical framework and a research agenda.” Journal of Management Studies, 49(4): 661-683 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01048.x) 

Combs, G.M., Clapp-Smith, R. and Nadkarni, S. (2010) “Managing BPO service workers in India: examining hope on performance outcomes.” Human Resource Management, 49(3): 457-476 (DOI: 10.1002/hrm.20355)

Izurieta, A. and Singh, A. (2010) “Does fast growth in India and China harm U.S. workers?” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 11(1): 115-141 (DOI: 10.1080/19452820903481558)

Walsham, G. (2010) “ICTs for the broader development of India: an analysis of the literature.” The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 41(4): 1-20

Nadkarni, S. and Herrmann, P. (2010) “CEO personality, strategic flexibility, and firm performance: the case of the Indian business process outsourcing industry.” Academy of Management Journal, 53(5): 1050-1073 (DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2010.54533196)

Noir, C. and Walsham, G. (2007) “The great legitimizer: ICT as myth and ceremony in the Indian healthcare sector.” Information Technology and People, 20(4): 313-333 (DOI: 10.1108/09593840710839770)

Hubacek, K., Guan, D. and Barua, A. (2007) “Changing lifestyles and consumption patterns in developing countries: a scenario analysis in China and India.Futures, 39(9): 1084-0896 (DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2007.03.010)

Singh, A. (2007) “Does integration of India and China with the world economy harm the us workers? A commentary on the Freeman thesis.” Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 50(3): 457-466 (DOI: 10.1080/19452820903481558)

Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (2006) “Scaling of health information systems in India: challenges and approaches.” Information Technology for Development, 12(3): 185-200 (DOI: 10.1002/itdj.20041)

Dasgupta, S. and Singh, A. (2005) “Will services be the new engine of Indian economic growth?” Development and Change, 36(6): 1035-1057 (DOI: 10.1111/j.0012-155X.2005.00449.x)

Barrett, M., Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (2001) “Information technology and social transformation: GIS for forestry management in India.” The Information Society, 17(1): 5-20 (DOI: 10.1080/019722401750067397)

Miller, D. and Hope, C. (2000) “Learning to lend for off-grid solar power: policy lessons from World Bank loans to India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.” Energy Policy, 28(2): 87-105 (DOI: 10.1016/S0301-4215(99)00071-3)

Walsham, G. and Sahay, S. (1999) “GIS for district-level administration in India: problems and opportunities.” MIS Quarterly, 23(1): 39-66 (DOI: 10.2307/249409)

Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (1997) “Social structure and managerial agency in India.” Organization Studies, 18(3): 415-444 (DOI: 10.1177/017084069701800304)

Singh, A. (1997) “The world economy under the market supremacy model and third world industrialisation.” Indian Economic Journal, 44(1): 1-16

Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (1996) “Implementation of GIS in India: organizational issues and implications.” International Journal of Geographical Information Systems, 10(4): 385-404 (DOI: 10.1080/02693799608902086)

Rau, P.R., Shekhar, V. and Rao, H.R. (1992) “Introducing a multiplant information system at Indian Oil.” Long Range Planning, 25(2): 2-89 (DOI: 10.1016/0024-6301(92)90196-9)

Jain, A. and Kattuman, P. (2015) “Decision-making and planning framework to improve the deployment success of decentralized rural electrification in India.” In: Hostettler S., Gadgil A. and Hazboun E. (eds.) Sustainable access to energy in the Global South: EPFL-UNESCO Chair Conference on Technologies for Development (3rd), 4-6 June 2014, Lausanne, Switzerland. Heidelberg: Springer, Cham, pp.129-145

Celly, N., Prabhu, J.C. and Subramanian, V. (2013) “Innovation by Indian EMNEs.” In: Williamson, P.J., Ramamurti, R., Fleury, A. and Fleury, M.T.L. (eds.) The competitive advantage of emerging market multinationals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.46-63

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E.Y. (2013) “The new wave of disruptive innovation from China: why and how global incumbents need to respond.” In: Li, P.P. (ed.) Disruptive innovation in Chinese and Indian businesses: the strategic implications for local entrepreneurs and global incumbents. London: Routledge, pp.179-198

Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (2005) “Scaling of health information systems in India: challenges and approaches.” In: Bada, A.O. and Okunoye, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the International Working Conference of IFIP WG 9.4, Abuja, Nigeria.

Kattuman, P. and Bhattacharjee, A. (2004) “Software in India: development implications of globalization and the international division of labour.” In: Kagami, M., Tsuji, M. and Giovannetti, E. (eds.) Information technology policy and the digital divide. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.92-113

Kattuman, P. and Iyer, K. (2003) “Human capital in the move up the value chain: the case of the Indian software and services industry.” In: Kagami, M., Tsuji, M. and Giovannetti, E. (eds.) The internet revolution: a global perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chandra R., Prabhu, J.C. and Chee, H. (2016) “Connecting India: riding the bumps on the highway programme.” Cambridge Judge Business School Cases (DOI: 10.4135/9781473974449)

Mehta, V., Prabhu, J.C. and Chee, H. (2016) “Fit for the future? Developing a strategy for the Indian health workforce.” Cambridge Judge Business School Cases (DOI: 10.4135/9781473974456)

Prasad, AM., Pankaj, A. and Prabhu J.C. (2016) “Reaching the right hands: seed subsidies in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.” The Case Centre, Series 316-0211-1

Dash, S., Radjou, N., Ahuja, S. and Prabhu, J.C. (2015) “Here comes the sun: selling solar solutions the SELCO way.” The Case Centre, Series 515-202-1

Imam, N. and Prabhu, J. (2015) “Zoom Car case study – at a critical set of cross roads in India.” SAGE Knowledge Business Cases (DOI: 10.4135/9781473974432)