Book review Entrepreneurship Strategy

Book Review | Jugaad 3.0: Hacking the Corporation

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4 out of 4 stars (4 / 4 Unputdownable)

Jugaad 3.0 is an arresting and challenging business book.

Simone Bhan Ahuja

For the starters, Jugaad in Hindi means hacking an existing technology or problem using out-of-the-box, unconventional methods. Broadly, Jugaad 3.0 signifies frugal innovation using the low-resource, high-value approach at the organizational level.

Simone Bhan Ahuja, a US-based innovation consultant and author, beautifully distills her subject by weaving together interesting stories from the corporate world.

The book convincingly makes the case for the mobilization of ‘Intrapreneurs’: the change agents that reside within the organization.

What is an Intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurs are entrepreneurs, technically, who give shape to their plans from within the walls of an organization.

Unlike their more famous cousins, however, the creative ingenuity of intrapreneurs remains uninvoked and underappreciated more often.

“An employee who isn’t necessarily given the setup and top-down mandate to create something new and valuable but starts doing it anyway.”

Simone Bhan Ahuja

Intrapreneurship per se is not a new term nor is this author the first one to lionize it. Professor Gary Hamel spoke of gray-haired revolutionaries in his 2002 bestseller Leading the Revolution. These leaders managed to reinvent themselves and their companies more than once.

Simone Bhan Ahuja sheds light on various scenarios in the book. These scenarios manifest when you give intrapreneurs or J3.0ers (Jugaad 3.0 practitioners) a free hand.

The 8 Core Principles of Jugaad 3.0

Simone proposes 8 key principles which can lend strongly to frugal ingenuity within organizations. These principles combined form the backbone of the book:

  • Keep it frugal
  • Make it permissionless
  • Let Customers lead
  • Make it fluid
  • Maximize return on intelligence
  • Create the commons
  • Engage passion and purpose
  • Add discipline to disruption

In one of the chapters, Simone analogizes intrapreneurship with Avengers-style ensemble cast. She envisages an ecosystem where individuals with complementary skills could join forces from far corners of the organization to crack big goals.

Threats to Intrapreneurship

The local fiefdoms in the established organizations blockade any effort to sidestep standard procedures. This kills the upside potential of intrapreneurship.

Insecurity, not able to call a project their own or associating with a project or a product where they see downsides are some of the notable reasons that keep many reporting managers away.

WooCommerce

Of all the major threats to disruptive innovation, the one that proves the thorniest is of measuring the innovation projects. You can’t use traditional metrics for the projects that have no financial value to start with.

She proposes Return on Intelligence which she also equates to return on failure.

Author’s idea is that the more you innovate and fail, the more you learn – through constant reiterations and reprioritizing – and that learning guides the success of future moonshots.

She declares, “You cannot advance innovation in a waterfall approach. It has to be agile.”

Air cover from the top

Top management or someone from the top must provide air cover to the intra-company reformists.

They should cut the teams some slack in the event of a project failing to take off. The leadership must encourage failure which in turn would signal people to take calculated risks.

You might say, hey, this is a culture thing and company cultures are just like country cultures – hard to change. Simone addresses this point, too.

The skunk-works projects must reach a point where their viability and practical utilization are clear to key stakeholders.

Most intrapreneurial projects are, no doubt, a tight rope to walk. You reveal the details too early and your initiative may never see the daylight; you leave it too late and it may raise many orthodox agents’ hackles.

The good news is that many inside the entrenched camps are now waking up to the significance of having these crusaders to stay relevant.

Conclusion

Jugaad 3.0 is Simone’s second book. I must say it is one of the most definitive books on frugal innovation and will stay on my reading desk for some time.

The hallmark of any good business book is the level of thorough research that goes into it. And, Jugaad 3.0 brims with research findings and great stories from innovative companies like 3M, Qualcomm, USAID, Mindtree, Future group and many more.

The writing is fascinating throughout as well. Even though Jugaad 3.0 falls into business strategy niche, it’s not a dry book. It grabs your attention from the get-go. All credit to Simone for penning a riveting book. I highly recommend it.


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Jugaad 3.0

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