Jugaad: Making the Most of Little

March 16, 2024 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Adopt resilience, frugality, adaptability, simplicity, inclusivity, empathy, and passion, all of which are essential… in a complex world.” Navi Radjou, Jugaad Innovation

Pam and I just recently watched the brilliant Apple TV series titled Shantaram about a convicted bank robber who escapes from an Australian prison and flees to India, finding a home in the Sagar Wadi slums of Bombay.

Shantaram and Jugaad

He is given the name Lin by a street hustler named Prabu, who becomes his best friend and also resides in Sagar Wadi, the primary slum of Bombay. Actor Charlie Hunnam, as Lin the escaped convict, was once an ambulance driving medic in Australia. His services as a medic soon become paramount in Sagar Wadi which is a community of people completely denied health care in the caste system of India.

Lin soon turns out to be the doctor of Sagar Wadi, in spite of his objections that he is not qualified to be a doctor. But… he is the closest thing to a doctor that thousands of people will ever know.

One of my very favorite scenes is simply two to three sentences long where the leader of the Sagar Wadi explains to Lin the Principle of Jugaad. It is the art of improvising and developing whatever talents one is given as a means of service to the community. That is, to take whatever you have or you are, use it, and improvise on it to make you and your gift an offering to those in need.

Titles Do Not Define Your Value

I made a career of training and executive coaching with mostly larger corporations. Many of my clients were Chevron-type organizations as well as others like Higher Ground, a small but immensely influential non-profit in Orange County, CA.

I have no formal education in OD or Business or Therapy. But for 35 years I have practiced Jugaad. Instead of PhD and EdD, I adopted three titles: GSD, FSU, and MSU—I “Get Stuff Done,” “Figure Stuff Out,” and “Make Stuff Up.” In other words, I produce, I problem -solve, and I create.

These titles have led me to the doors of CEOs and highly influential corporate leaders. Now that I have retired, I can boldly admit a reliance on the principle of Jugaad. Like Lin, I am a medic who has transitioned to a field doctor.

When a Little is a Lot

I write this for you, especially those of you that feel you haven’t the resources or the education or even the finances to help lead your organization to success. For me, service and creation of value may perhaps be a matter of Jugaad. Take what you have now and squeeze out every conceivable particle of value that may lie dormant in wait for you to use it as you GSD, FSU, or MSU. And in doing so you can change Your World.

What Little You May Have

Is Plenty for What You May Do

Photo courtesy of TonyBaggett at istockphoto


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