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Dump Jugaad and Focus on Innovation!

illustration of light bulbs indicating ideas flowing out of open palms

I am surprised to read and hear the appreciation of word Jugaad by many prominent writers, from people in leadership position and some budding entrepreneurs . I have also heard many other terms, including Jugaad, that does not go with characters of successful startups. Some of these startups have reasonable potential to succeed except for their certain misplaced agendas. This forced me to think and share these thoughts, as it is important to start with the right perspective and not fail because of false notions.


  1. Jugaad does not lead to sustainable business. Jugaad, while appreciated by many (there is even a book on it), in my opinion is ‘temporary fix for a problem’ and since by virtue being ‘temporary’, it cannot be sustainable. Some have called Jugaad as ‘Frugal engineer’ and that itself is not so encouraging to base any business on or for that matter a Startup as ultimately Jugaad shall be thing of past and more permanent solution will be required for business to be sustainable. I have even read that some are calling Jugaad as Innovation and I beg to differ strongly! Innovation is long term and more permanent solution and helps build sustainable businesses. AVOID JUGAAD.


  1. Simply filling the Need Gap is not sustainable business: Many startups are trying to build business by ‘filling the need gap’ without realizing that some with higher resources can fill the same need gap faster and sometimes even better as they can attract better talent, build/provide solution faster, market more aggressively and reach more customers and  to fill the same need gap. Better is to find a innovative solution that cannot or shall be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate. That would enable a startup to do exactly the same, attract better talent, build/provide solution faster, market more aggressively, reach more customers and mobilise more resources. SO AVOID SIMPLY FILLING THE NEED GAP AND FIND A INNOVATIVE SOLUTION TO IT.


  1. Build to sell is no strategy for startup business as any predefined notion on exit of a startup on day one are just day dreams. Many startups have this misguided notion that they will quickly build a solution that does not exist currently and a big competitor shall buy them sooner than later. M&A is a result of Value that one build in a startup and not because of a solution is missing in the competitions arsenal. Even if it is being noticed by the competition, the question of Build vs buy is always there and the chances are 50:50 and hence it is risky to think getting acquired is the only option left for competition. Instead, focus on building value by innovating, solving real problem and winning customers. The competition will take notice and act aggressively. Fight back, innovate further and strategies to win more customer. The business will gain higher traction and that would be a step towards building a sustainable business which, by now has a real value and provides a choice, to exit or not too. AVOID THINKING OF EXIT WHILE STARTING UP AND FOCUS ON BUILDING.


  1. My way or highway is no way to build business that needs cohesive team and partnership with ecosystem partners. In startup world, one is always short on resources and hence need as much help as possible from everyone connected to the business. However, ‘I know it all’ attitude can alienate oneself from much needed ecosystem support. Not listening is not learning. Whereas listening, learning to tweak or even pivot at the right time is essential to evolve. A startup has to continuously explore new paths, new ways, new strategies and adapt to find the sweet spot that can help grow to build sustainable and scalable business. In startup world, one is as good as his/her team. So listen, absorb, reflect, discuss & adapt. BE HUMBLE, LISTEN TO BUILD TEAM, PARTNERSHIPS & ECOSYSTEM.


  1. I am here for a short haul! We will quickly build, scale and exit! N Way that is happening. Rome was not built in a day. Neither has any startup. All good things take time and it is a long road to success as it needs patience, continuous application, never give up attitude, a good team and financial resources. There is a saying in an Indian Language, that once started, do not stop for 999 days. Building a startup would mean first survive, then sustain and finally scale. Each stage shall need perseverance, skill, teamwork and funding. Neither of these are coming in hurry and nor should a startup expect it. A disruptive startup may be faster than others, but surely not in weeks or months. So being at it and keep moving forward is the only way to go. SO WORK LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW BUT BE PATIENCE FOR RESULTS, GROWTH AND SCALE.


  1. Me too can do this is no reason to initiate a startup as there could be many who could would be there with ‘me too can do better’ approach. A visible differentiator that can help create and build value can help ‘me too’, but cannot always build sustainable and scalable business. The value would be in creating a different but better than existing, difficult to replicate solution for an existing problem. All it means is that me too is not the way to go but me have solved the problem differently is the way to go. Google is a good example where in it was me too search engine but did it differently and way better than its peers! SO ME TO THINK DIFFERENT, THINK OF BETTER AND DO BETTER.


  1. Lets Raise large round first as Big Idea needs big resources or it would need big team, big investment, bigger market etc., etc. No way! For startups, the saying goes ‘Think Big, start small’! No idea needs starting big as there is too much of risk for an untried, untested non validated idea to start with. Since startup is all about a new innovative idea, biz or technology, there is a risk that it may not work or pan out the way it was envisaged and hence starting small makes sense. Therefore one has to do it clinically by starting small, creating proof of concept, testing it, rolling out in controlled environment, monitoring the progress, tweaking it, roll out commercially, keep a track, do course correction if need be, monitoring the progress, studying various data points, taking feedback, consolidating the results, raising money, expanding team, marketing, acquiring customer, hitting the sweet spot, giving a hard push, growing exponentially and finally scaling to become market leader! So THINK BIG, START SMALL!