Solve problems with technologies at hand

August 27, 2013

In India a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem is known as “Jugaad”. The Hindi word literally means an improvised arrangement, which has to be used due to a lack of resources. In other words, some people in these poor regions solve their problems with technologies at hand – just to make it work. This can be various things like an electrical cord, split and stripped at the end, each wire pushed directly into one hole of an electrical outlet with half of a toothpick wedging it in place. Or it can be a short log used as a cutting board for the evening’s vegetables, the middle hollowed from chopping. It could even be a professional tailor’s shears, each blade carefully hand-ground from what had previously been a metal file.

“Jugaad” helps people the world over

It isn’t called Jugaad in other parts of the world, but it follows the same principle: People need solutions that work, regardless of whether they are professionally designed, or store-bought. While not all of these solutions are innovative in the traditional sense and not all of them should be reproduced for various reasons (e.g. workplace safety), they have one more thing in common: They are unique and you wonder about people’s creativity once you stumble across them.

In the following you will find some of the things that amazed our authors. Have you ever come across examples like that? We would like to hear about them?

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Caroline Weimann
Caroline Weimann

Caroline Weimann is member of the “empowering people. Award” team at the Siemens Stiftung (foundation). She studied International Law, Economics and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as well as Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. Before joining the Siemens Stiftung, she worked on health and development issues at the European Commission and at a consultancy firm for non-profit organizations.


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