Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jugaad’s tryst with the armchair reformist

Incase you aren’t already familiar with this unique Indian word that’s making the waves, ‘Jugaad’ refers to an improvisational style of innovation that strives to make the best out of scarce resources. It captures how most Indian corporations have gained international stature. The term is India’s contribution to the lexicon of management jargon, mingling with six sigma, total quality, lean, and kaizen.
However, recently with the Commonwealth Games, jugaad was made the chief villain of all the mishaps and controversies surrounding the start of the games. Suresh Kalmadi tried his best to justify jugaad’s miracle prowess after the spectacular opening ceremony. But all he got was boos and jeers.
I am not here to defend jugaad or add to the reams of ink already spent on the CWG. What I want to examine is an alarming trend that I have noticed of recent - this reached its pinnacle with the CWG- the rise in the number of people who love to crib about everything and thrive on seeing others being defamed and castigated. I call them armchair reformists!
And they exist everywhere, at the workplace, among friends, neighbors, everywhere! The success of humiliating reality shows on TV, the headlines of most newspapers, everything reeks of scathing opinions, negativity and self-gratifying interest in another’s misery.
What’s come of us? Are we growing too fast to comprehend and deal with change? Is it a factor or increasing urbanization and the growing economic divide? Is it the result of the burgeoning aspirations of our celebrated middle class? Or have we just turned into a nation where nothing good can happen?
What is it that’s drives us to revel and enjoy in activities that shame another?
Is this the disarray before the final attraversiamo?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do think it certainly is a factor of the break down in values, personal values, simple ones like tolerance, respect for another individual (in a position of power or otherwise), professionalism and ethics.
It’s easy to sit back and comment about matters; what about personal responsibility and accountability? The country is witnessing unprecedented growth, the global spotlight is on us; we are bound to make mistakes and stumble. Is it productive to castigate every mistake? Or is productive to emerge as more supportive and participatory in managing this growth?
Will Jugaad successfully convert these armchair reformists into positive forces of action? Your guess is as good as mine.