Against Jugaad

Making a Case for Design as Innovation


  • Neema Kudva Cornell
  • Deepa Kamath



problem-solving, innovation, Jugaad, frugal


This paper examines jugaad through the lens of design as problem-solving and a driver of innovation. We include a range of design disciplines that have spatial and material impacts from architecture and urban planning to product design. The paper starts with a brief description of the ways in which jugaad is currently understood, and then proceeds to make the case for why jugaad is neither quality design nor frugal innovation. Our argument draws on a wide-ranging survey of jugaad as an idea across several fields, a series of in-depth interviews where we asked our interlocutors to use examples of work to situate their responses, and our engagement with Charles and Ray Eames’ ideas on design process and pedagogy in The India Report (1958, rep. 1997). In doing so, we wish to not just be against jugaad but to go beyond it, reading it as a crucial component of the design and innovation process but not the design solution or innovation itself.



How to Cite

Kudva, N., & Kamath, D. . (2021). Against Jugaad: Making a Case for Design as Innovation. Ekistics and The New Habitat, 80(2), 47–57.