‘Frugal’ gets traction in Bangladesh

Kudos! We are very excited to share Ashek Bhai’s article, published in The Financial Times. Ashek Bhai works at BRAC Enterprises and Investments and was blown away by Dr. Jaideep’s session on Frugal Innovations. He wanted to share this knowledge with a wider audience in Bangladesh and decided to write an article on frugal innovation in the developing world. We’ve shared an excerpt from his article. To read the entire article, please click here. The Social Innovation Lab hopes to bring in more experts from around the world, to inspire and create varying interest at BRAC.

From Jugaad to Jinjira: The case of developing world innovation

By Ashek Ishtiak Haq

In Bangladesh we call it “Made in Jinjira”.

If anyone proactively wants to practice Jugaad, Professor Prabhu suggests six principles: seek opportunity in adversity, do more with less, think and act flexibly, keep it simple, include the margin and follow your heart. But what actually defines the Jugaad mindset? Here are some key attributes laid down by Professor Prabhu: optimism, resilience, empathy, passion and frugality. Such mindset is always there among our own society otherwise how one could explain the notoriously accident-prone Nasimon or the shallow-engine driven votvoti that has created affordable transportation for Bangladesh’s rural society? We have always used Jugaad in our lives (remember the good old days when we used to hang all types of kitchen utensils in our TV antenna to get Indian channels or using ‘missed calls’ to communicate without paying anything) but now has come the time to see the challenges in our lives not as constraints rather an opportunity to innovate and overcome them.

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