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Inspiration to do more with less


Have you heard of the clay refrigerator? In many parts of the world, food spoils simply for lack of electricity to run a refrigerator.


To the western eye, this clay cabinet, designed by an Indian inventor, has the visual appeal of a whimsical sculpture. It’s actually a functional refrigerator, molded from porous white clay found in the Indian province of Gujarat. You remove the lid on top and pour in water, which slowly seeps through the clay, keeping food inside the box cool, no electricity needed. It’s just one of many jugaad innovations we’ll hear about from Navi Radjou at 9 a.m. on June 3 at Coupa Inspire at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco.


Jugaad is a Hindi word meaning an innovative fix or improvised solution born from ingenuity, and Navi co-wrote the book on it. It’s all about how entrepreneurial MacGyvers in the developing world invent things to solve everyday problems out of next to nothing.


He also co-authored Frugal Innovation, which looks at what happens when entreprenuers and companies in the developed world embrace jugaad principles of doing more with less.


Doing more with less is certainly a familiar theme for procurement and finance. But there’s more to it than boosting the bottom line. Radjou argues that population growth, shrinking natural resources and increasing global competition are threatening the sustainability of business as usual across any number of industries.


We need completely new ways of doing things, and the bloated R&D budgets and long development cycles seen at established companies with deep pockets aren’t going to get us there. Frugal innovation is not just a business imperative; it’s imperative for our collective survival.


Visionary companies in the developed world are already embracing the six principles of frugal innovation, which include:


Engaging and iterating: Starting with customer needs and work backwards from there, involving customers in the process


Flexing your assets: Working toward more flexible and less costly means of production and logistics


Creating sustainable solutions: Implementing cradle-to-cradle practices where components and materials are repeatedly recycled


Shaping customer behavior: Through design and packaging, companies can influence customers to feel more satisfied while consuming less


Co-creating value with prosumers: Leveraging the collective of empowered consumers to design, create and share the products and services they want


Making innovative friends: Collaborating with diverse external partners to develop better products, services and business models


You’ll be inspired by Navi’s stories of what these entrepreneurs and companies are already accomplishing. We think you’ll agree that frugal innovation is not just a survival tactic but an exciting and disruptive new growth strategy.


If you haven’t registered for Inspire yet, do it now!


Can’t join us but still want to be Inspired? We’ll be livestreaming the event. Stay tuned for details.