Jugaad, India-genous creativity

by | Sunday, September 07, 2008

Jugaad is a Hindi word which does not have a straight forward equivalent in English. I guess the closest phrase I would say would be “situational or indigenous creativity,” the ability to make do creatively with the tools/resources one has at hand.

On Jugadu.com I came across a pretty good definition:

Jugaad refers to an improvised or jury-rigged solution; inventiveness, ingenuity, cleverness. It means creative improvisation and finding alternative ways of doing improbable things. It reflects on a person’s ability to think out of the box and optimize resources in the best possible way.

This is a great example…;

Jugaad has a long history in India, though I had a hard time coming up with documented examples. This posting is a beginning in that direction.

  • Wikipedia article on Jugaad
  • Here is an article in the Times of India with some examples: Makeshift miracles, the Indian Genius for Jugaad.
  • Jugaad as a Business buzzword, and in the software industry
  • Some good examples, with photographs, from Tripti Lahiri’s India journal,here (though you may have to scroll down a bit to the section titled “Indian D-I-Y (December 31, 2007)” get there)
  • Some photographs on Flickr that may be of interest: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
  • In an educational context, the idea of Jugaad is quite close to the idea of “repurposing technology” that I have often argued about. In India, the Hoshangabad Project had an initiative called Kabaad Se Jugaad, literally “Creativity with Rubbish” where found objects or discarded objects were used to create educational kits or toys. (Here and here are some Flickr photos of people engaged in Kabaad Se Jugaad.)

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Handbook of TPCK

Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators, Edited by The AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology
A Co-Publication of Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group and the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education

Buy it at Amazon.com (Now available!)

This handbook addresses the concept and implementation of technological pedagogical content knowledge — the knowledge and skills that teachers need in order to meaningfully integrate technology into instruction in specific content areas.

Creativity, risk-taking & failure in education

Creativity, risk-taking & failure in education

Failure and risk-taking are essential to the creative process. It is rare that good original, creative work or ideas come together in the first try. Thus, an important component of engaging in creative practice is both an acceptance of potential failure as well as a...


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New Gandhi ambigram

The quest for a better design continues... Much better, I think, than my previous attempt

Of garbage cans and psychological media

This has been a day of sad news from Stanford University. I blogged about the passing away of Dr. Nalini Ambady (see blog post here). I will digress a bit before I describe the second piece of news because the connection to me (and my work) is much more salient. Back...

Happy 2010! Stop motion movie

I have had a lot of fun this year playing with video. Most of these experiments were done with my kids (nothing like combining work with pleasure). One of the things we had done last year was a stop motion new year's card. So we just HAD to create one this year as...

Of hernias and hiccups, the evolutionary story

Interesting article in Scientific American about how flaws in our biology reveal our evolutionary history. Steven Gould talked about it in his famous essay on The Panda's Thumb. This is a wonderful argument for Darwinian evolution since it points not to perfection...

Jere Brophy

Jere Brophy Scholar, Teacher, Friend Untitled This is what was bequeathed us: This earth the beloved left And, leaving, Left to us. No other world But this one: Willows and the river And the factory With its black smokestacks. No other shore, only this bank On which...

Jared Diamond on creativity, innovation and wealth

Jared Diamond has an article on edge.org, somewhat provocatively titled: How to get rich? The question his after is simply, "what is the best way to organize human groups and human organizations and businesses so as to maximize productivity, creativity, innovation,...


  1. Playskool Alphie


    Thanks for the inspiration article.

    Kabaad Se Jugaad, what an awesome way to be creative!


  2. Punya Mishra

    Thanks Bernie. Great resource. Keep up the good work. ~ punya

  3. Major Fun

    This concept is a great gift to the world. You might also be interested in the Junkyard Sports Community – http://junkyardsports.com/community – where we take this idea into the invention of new, informal sports.


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