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What should you target: Excellence? Or the fast-and-cheap?


Note: I first wrote this article for a Nasscom blog

Tom Peters and numerous others have been nudging organizations and individuals to pursue excellence. Result? Discoveries. Innovations. Change. Customer value. Better employee satisfaction. Progress. Advancement.

Today, we’re seeing what some might consider a disturbing trend. This is the peddling of the “fast and cheap” (jugaad) as you see in this BusinessWeek article.

Comments on that article suggest that most disagree with the “fast and cheap.” And comments on a Seth Godin post at clearly and completely support excellence.

Pursuit-of-the-fast-and-cheap clearly delivers some advantages. But businesses should also be aware of the downside by listening to warnings such as those given by Ross B-School professor M. S. Krishnan: “Jugaad means ‘Somehow, get it done,’ even if it involves corruption … Companies have to be careful. They have to pursue jugaad with regulations and ethics in mind.”

Are you concerned that “fast and cheap” might take us back in time — and therefore away from EXCELLENCE?

If not, do you think the current economic times justify it, as claimed by the authors/promoters of the “fast and cheap”?


  1. I think both the concepts will (and should) co-exist. The innovators will bring niche and often expensive products/services to the market. These are the products that challenge status quo and define our tomorrow. And eventually, these products will be replicated fastly and cheaply by the manufacturing gurus, making these products affordable in the mass. The latter cannot exist without the former and the former has little meaning without the latter.


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