Jaldi 5 with Mandeep Malhotra: Jugaad is our way of life

15 Nov,2012

Last month (October 2012), DDB Mudra Max president Mandeep Malhotra and DDB Mudra Concrea Chief Youth Marketer and MxMIndia columnist Samyak Chakrabarty were invited by Aller Media, Finland’s leading publishing house, to speak to advertising agency and brand heads on ‘The Art of Indian Jugaad’ in the context of marketing  and advertising.

 

MxMIndia interviewed Mr Malhotra on his view on Jugaad and why the concept was such a huge hit with the European audience.

 

01.  Jugaad in India has a very negative connotation. So how come talk about it to a European audience?

When first invited, I too was surprised – not because of the negative connotation as such but more about how and when did the Europeans start wanting to learn more about Jugaad. However, upon interacting personally with my hosts and audience – I realized that post the slowdown, they wanted to discover more innovative and ‘street smart’ ways of doing business.

 

Despite of the global recession, India has managed to tide through and hence they wanted an insight into our way of doing things. In fact, they were surprised to know how our advertising and marketing industry was so vibrant even in such testing economic conditions. The kind and quantity of innovations we continue to produce was a great eye opener for them.
02.   Do you think the fact we have more economic imbalances in India as against the West causes this desire for the Jugaad? And in the developed economies there is greater complacency?

I think Jugaad is ingrained in our social fabric – it is not just business, it is our way of life. Indians by nature are streetsmart, hardworking and ‘quick’ individuals. Whether people at the bottom of the pyramid or the SEC A+, this method of working is utilized by all at different scales and purposes. Those in the west are advanced at one end (in terms of technology especially) but at the same time are also quite primitive (with respect to approach to business processes), they prefer to rely of what is tried and tested leaving not much room for change.

But due to recent circumstances, they are slowly opening up to newer ideas and are keenly looking at international success stories hence the interest in Jugaad – The art of doing business in India! This new-found interest has also much to do with the rise in the number of successful entrepreneurs in India.

03.   In many ways, it’s this aggressive can do.. by hook or by crook attitude in India has also resulted in inefficiencies?

No I disagree, one can still be efficient and aggressive at the same time. It is all about how seriously you take your business, comply to deliverables and create value for all stakeholders. Ineffeciences occur when there is no proper monitoring, control and strong leadership…this has nothing to do with using Jugaad.

04.   If it can work to help business abroad, surely it can work here in India too. What’s your view on how we can use this ‘Jugaadoo’ spirit without short-cuts and corruption?

Why are ‘corruption’ and ‘short-cuts’ synonyms to Juagaad? It is but a technique of getting around (without compromising fundamental ideals) your goal without wasting precious time and ensuring 100% results. We just got to be clear about what we want, critically analyze enabling factors (that can help reach the goal) and smartly use all available advantages.

05.   Regrettably those with a spirit of enterprise in India (like Parle’s Ramesh Chauhan or R Mohan of GoodKnight) gave up their topselling brands to international or larger players like Coca-Cola and Godrej respectively. Are those into Jugaad, short-term entrepreneurs or is there no clear rule? 

By the fifth question, I’ve begun to realize how misunderstood Jugaad is in our very own country especially by the current generation. In Jugaad, the clear rule is only about how to do business, not what to do with it. It is an enabler to success, not a destination. If someone wants to sell his/her business, that has nothing to do with it. One must know that this practice of doing business prevails even in the smallest of commercial ventures and deliver results everyday. At the outset, I urge everybody not to complicate and over-analyse Jugaad – its success lies in how simple it is!

 

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