Jugaad – the Indian growth hack!

Do you recall MacGyver? This TV show, aired in the 90’s, was all about a hero who was creating innovative solutions by using kitchen logic. As a kid I found it really amazing what great results were achieved with simple input.

In working with Indian entrepreneurs recently, I discovered that MacGyver is most probably inspired by what in Hindi is called Jugaad – a hack or a solution that bends the rules and is used to signify creativity. It appeared to me that where western corporates and start-ups are embracing The Lean Start-up methodology with concepts like Minimable Viable Product, piloting and pivoting, to innovated faster and cheaper this is the default way or working in India.

Let me give you three examples on how Jugaad looks like by highlighting the three enterprises that I’ve been working with recently as an expert on behalf of Women on Wings.

Apani Saheli Producers Company (ASPCL)
ASPCL, based in Dolphur, is a formalized income generation group of activities for farmers. We have done a high level assessment on the market opportunities for value added dairy products (Ghee and Paneer) and Fresh Fish amongst more affluent shoppers in New Delhi. The main focus has been on a deep dive on their recently started modern retail operations – Saheli Bazaar and we have defined a number of interventions in shelving, assortment, management reporting (KPI’s) and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures.

Pro-Nature (head quartered in Bangalore) is promoting the production (working with thousands of farmers) and consumption of organic produce (rice, pulses and spices) and is selling to both traditional as well as modern retail. With Pro-Nature we focused on category management and joint value creation with modern retailers. We created an action plan how to better align the mutual objectives and defined a number of pragmatic solutions how to increase instore visibility and offtake for the total organic category and Pro-Nature brand.

Safe Harvest
Safe Harvest (Bangalore) is promoting and supporting Non Pesticide Management (NPM) farming techniques. Their products (branded and co-branded) are for sale in many different retailer outlets in South India. We focused on the golden circle (Why, How and What) and came up with a holistic concept – Caring For Her – that has the potential to clearly position the unique value that Safe Harvest is creating for female farmers as well as their most important consumer group – women taking care of their families. Several communication and commercial ideas have been generated and will be executed in the coming months.

All three enterprises are rooted in a deep believe that social and economic progress can be achieved at the same time and all three are learning by doing. They pilot new ideas and products and pivot their proposition and business model. That is how Jugaad is being practiced.

Casper Schoenmakers
Expert in Go-To-Market (Marketing and Sales)
In the center of the picture with ASPCL team