“When you grow up in a developing country, you instinctively learn to get more value from limited resources, and find creative ways to use what you already have,” says Navi Radjou at the beginning of his TED talk. As examples of what he means he gives some examples:
• A potter in India created a refrigerator entirely of clay that uses no electricity and can keep fruits and vegetables cool for days.
Many of these frugal innovations are created by people who have no fancy laboratory with abundant resources. Instead, their streets are their labs, and they use our most abundant resource, human ingenuity, to come up with solutions to problems. In India they actually have a Hindi word for this: Jugaad. It means an improvised fix, or a clever solution born in adversity, and as Radjou says, “These solutions are not sophisticated or perfect, but they create more value at a lower cost. They transform adversity into opportunity and turn something of low value into something of value.”
Last, Radjou shares three principles we can use in our own operations to help us do more with less:
- Keep it simple. Don’t create solutions just to impress customer. Make them easy to use and accessible.
- Do not reinvent the wheel. Leverage existing resources and assets that are widely available.
- Think and act horizontally. Growing vertically makes you less agile than if you spread out. As an example we might relate to, instead of buying expensive land, consider leasing. Instead of buying cattle, consider custom grazing.
So when you’re taking a break for a cup of coffee or a snack enjoy this 16 minute video, and if you’re so inspired, share some of your frugal innovations. Or, if you’d just like to see some inspired farm hacks, here are past articles you might like.