Emma Watson

64 REAL-LEADERS.COM / SPRING 2018 READING LIST Frugal Innovation: How to do More With Less With a foreword by Paul Polman,CEO of Unilever,the authors show how companies can innovate faster,better,and more sustainably in today’s customer-driven digital economy shaped by climate change. The business world is radically changing. Tighter budgets and dwindling natural resources,new technologies,and empowered customers are all driving disruptive trends like the sharing and circular economy,and the Maker movement. In this context,how can firms get high quality products to market faster,better,cheaper? Once the preserve of firms in emerging markets (India in particular),Western firms are now adopting frugal innovation to appeal to cost-conscious and eco-aware customers. They are launching $5,000 cars, developing medical drugs in a micro-factory the size of a container,and creating products that can be reused and recycled again and again. LESS IS MORE When is your earliest recollection of knowing that your life purpose lay in raising awareness around scarce resources? I grew up in Pondicherry, a former French colony in Southern India made famous by the book and movie Life of Pi. My house was next to an urban slum and I developed a sensitivity for scarce resources. Due to the very dry climate, water was rationed and we would take a shower with one bucket of water. My childhood friends lived in abject poverty, yet were highly creative: like MacGyver! They improvised makeshift solutions to everyday problems with very limited means. They did more — and better — with less. This resilient ingenuity and resourceful frugality formed a philosophy that I now live by. Do you think achieving a higher purpose in life is possible for anyone, and if so, how would we go about it? Steve Jobs famously said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” When I turned 45, I reflected on my life and saw a pattern. Until then, I had treated the various aspects of my background — my Indian roots, French education, and my professional life in the US — as distinct. I realized that the time had come for me to “integrate” these unconnected dots of my background into something more holistic. I also see this reflected in our times. We are entering what I call the Age of Convergence, in which first-world and third-world issues, such as climate change, escalating pollution, social inequality and chronic illnesses, are converging to create “problems without borders” that affect every person on Earth irrespective of gender, skin color or income level. The human race needs to transcend its superficial differences and converge toward unity. How are you personally applying this philosophy to your life and work ? I see this convergence and unity happening within my own being as I integrate the rich aspects of my multicultural background — the millennia-old Indian spiritual wisdom, the French tradition of rational thinking and scientific analysis and aesthetic appreciation, and the entrepreneurial “can-do” spirit of Silicon Valley — to gradually become a “whole” person. I intend to infuse this holistic and integrative perspective into my work so I can inspire people worldwide to co-create a better future for humanity. I consider this to be my life’s purpose. Navi Radjou is an innovation and leadership thinker based in Silicon Valley. Drawing on his Indian upbringing, he was the first to capture the phenomenon of “jugaad” — a Hindi word for improvised solutions born out of ingenuity in resource-constrained settings. His first book, Jugaad Innovation , showed how entrepreneurs can unleash grassroots ingenuity that creates simple but effective solutions at a lower cost. “ Frugal innovation is now becoming a strategic business imperative in developed economies, where consumers demand affordable and sustainable products. No business leader in the 21st century can ignore the paradigm shift fully described in this book. ” Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance “ Insightfully articulates how Western companies can evolve to capture opportunities presented by the burgeoning “do more with less” economy. ” Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company “ Radjou and Pradhu make the point that frugal innovation is at a critical inflection point. It’s no longer an innovative tool in the innovation arsenal, it’s slowly becoming a key ingredient, if not a whole new economic paradigm. I was particularly intrigued by their reflections on how frugal innovation can help invigorate corporate culture – and perhaps usher in a radically different way of doing business altogether, resulting in more humane economies that do less with more – but end up being richer in every aspect. ” Tim Leberecht