MacGyver Moments

The seventh cultural concept explored comes from India.

Jugaad is what we in America would call a MacGyver Moment. It’s where you ingenuously think of a solution to fix a problem using only materials that you have on hand.


Jugaad alternatively Juggaar)is a Hindi word that means “an innovative fix” or a “repair derived from ingenuity,” — think a jury-rigged sled for snowy fun, or a bicycle chain repaired with some duct tape.

It’s a frequently used word in India where frugal fixes are revered.

But the idea has further merit beyond figuring out solutions to get by with less. It also encapsulates the spirit of doing something innovative.


As the authors of Jugaad Innovation write in Forbes, they see jugaad in many other places than the repair shop: “In Kenya, for instance, entrepreneurs have invented a device that enables bicycle riders to charge their cellphones while pedaling. In the Philippines, Illac Diaz has deployed A Litre of Light — a recycled plastic bottle containing bleach-processed water that refracts sunlight, producing the equivalent of a 55-watt light bulb — in thousands of makeshift houses in off-the-grid shantytowns. And in Lima, Peru (with high humidity and only 1 inch of rain per year), an engineering college has designed advertising billboards that can convert humid air into potable water.”

Jugaad’s idea of frugal innovation can definitely be applied in the individual life — what about setting aside a half a day twice a year where everyone in your family fixes something that needs repair?

You’ll save money, spend time together, test problem-solving skills, and get a sense of accomplishment from repairing instead of buying new.


Sadly, I think this is one of the most important things we are losing in America–the ability to think outside the box to solve problems with very little consumption.

One thought on “MacGyver Moments”

  1. I love those MacGyver solutions! You are right, Kathy. During WWII, part of our success stemmed from ordinary soldiers coming up with their own solutions to broken equipment. Germans were more likely to sit by their broken vehicles waiting for someone else to fix it.

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