Traveling ticketless by train in India is not uncommon. In fact, traveling so in local trains is a matter of pride and adventure for many. After all, the likelihood of getting caught is low. Even so, sometime ago, an insurance scheme was launched – surreptitiously one presumes – for ticketless travelers. By paying a small monthly premium, if caught, the penalty for ticketless travel would be paid by the insurer and the traveler was free to continue his/her travel (ticketless, presumably). This might well be an apocryphal story but it illustrates the infinite capacity of the Indian mind to “opportunistically” innovate or invoke Jugaad (a term that’s since become fashionable internationally). Another common example is the case of washing machines being used to churn milk to make butter in rural Punjab. There are scores of examples of such Jugaad innovations but hardly any for what one might call Systematic Innovation, which is typically the source of major innovations on a sustained basis.
Why is that the case? Rishikesha Krishnan, Professor of Corporate Strategy and Policy and Jamuna Raghavan Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore has attempted to answer this in his recent slim book From Jugaad to Systematic Innovation – The challenge for India. While there have been umpteen studies on Innovation in India including several pop-books on examples of breakthrough innovation in India, this is perhaps the first book that lists the critical ingredients required to generate sustained innovation.
Full report here WSJ blogs