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…

Demotivational posters

I have been a big fan of Despair.com and its quirky, dark humor. I particularly love the demotivational posters, with their beautiful inspiring photographs coupled with some deeply cynical or depressing message. Today students in my MAET summer program completed a...

Visual proofs

I just came across these lovely visual mathematical proofs. For instance consider the following sequence: 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + ... = 1 and then see the following image on the blog!! How cool is that!!!! I had posted about something similar earlier (see visualizing...

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

In honor of the movie "Hidden Figures" here is a new figure-ground ambigram. Enjoy.

Why blog

Andrew Sullivan is one of my favorite bloggers, not because I agree with all that he says there is a certain sensibility that emerges as you follow his blog for a while that appeals to me. He has a great piece in The Atlantic Monthly titled Why I blog?. Speaking of...

The degradation of Matt

A rumination on goofy sketches, the perils of reproduction as it plays out in a children's game, a B-list Hollywood movie, and botany textbooks I read when in high school, all leading up to some thoughts on the history of scientific illustration. If this sounds even...

Creativity as Resistance: New article

Creativity as Resistance: New article

Image credit: tshirtgifter.com The next article in our series (Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century) for the journal Tech Trends is now available online. This article has an interview with Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, currently Associate Professor and...

SITE 2008: A postview

We got back home from SITE 2008 (Las Vegas) last night and there lots of things worth posting but this will have to be brief. The keynote presentation by Matt and myself went of quite well. It was a gamble, an attempt at a creative mashup of presentations styles...

STEM teaching & leadership for urban educators

STEM teaching & leadership for urban educators

The MSUrbanSTEM project was one of the best projects I have ever been part of.  We worked with 124 Chicago Public School STEM educators over three years, in an effort to develop their teaching and leadership in the STEM areas. We have written about this...

Social Media at Bloomfield Hills: The video

Back in November 2010, I had been invited by the Bloomfield Hills School District to speak to their administrators and leadership about issues related to social media and what it means for schools and districts. You can find out more about this session here. As I said...


  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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