Navi Radjou Profile

Navi Radjou is a French-American scholar, an innovation and leadership advisor, and a bestselling author based in Silicon Valley. Navi’s most recent book, Frugal Innovation: How To Do More With Less (with a foreword by Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever), published by The Economist, shows how companies can innovate faster, better, and sustainably in today’s customer-driven global tech economy shaped by climate change. Navi has also coauthored the global bestseller Jugaad Innovation (over 100,000 copies sold worldwide) and From Smart To Wise. His TED talk on frugal innovation has garnered over 1.7 million video views. And, he has received the prestigious Thinkers50 Innovation Award.

His next book, The Conscious Society: Reinventing How We Consume, Work, Relate, and Live, shows how we can expand our awareness and tap into our abundant inner resources — love, ingenuity, wisdom — to consciously direct human evolution towards a healthier and sustainable future.

He is a Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Until 2011, he served as Executive Director of the Centre for India & Global Business at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Prior to that, as Vice President at Forrester Research in Boston and San Francisco, he advised senior leaders worldwide on breakthrough growth strategies. He is on the advisory boards of NEHI’s Global Lab for Health and Africa4Tech.

Navi’s ideas have been shaped by his eclectic cultural background including his Indian roots, his French education, and his Silicon Valley milieu. He studied at Ecole Centrale Paris and the Yale School of Management. His writing appears in Fast CompanyHarvard Business Review and 
strategy+business, among other publications. He is a lifelong student of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Buddhist (Vipassana) meditation.

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Navi Radjou's Speech Descriptions

Topic 1: Jugaad: Unleashing the Creativity of Your Employees, Customers, and Partners
During the 20th century, the Western model of innovation was like an orchestra: top-down, rigid, and run by upper-level executives. But to succeed in the complex, volatile, resource-scarce business environment of the 21st century, Western firms need an alternative approach, one that is like a jazz band: bottom-up, improvisational, and collaborative.

Award-winning innovation expert Navi Radjou will show how ingenious entrepreneurs and firms in fast-growing emerging markets (India, China, Africa) are using jugaad—a Hindi word for frugal and flexible innovation—to sense and respond swiftly to big market opportunities and outsmart competition. Jugaad is your innate “MacGyver spirit”—the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.

Drawing on his global bestseller Jugaad Innovation (over 100,000 copies sold), Navi will show how you can apply the proven business principles of jugaad to unleash and harness the grassroots ingenuity of your employees and partners, encourage productive risk-taking, gain in agility and resilience, and innovate faster, better, and cheaper. In particular, you will learn how to:
- Transform adversity into opportunity
- Develop simple but effective solutions on a shoestring
- Engage a diverse set of partners to co-create breakthrough solutions
- Solve complex problems by using both your mind (logic) andheart (intuition)

Topic 2: Frugal Innovation: The Art of Doing Better with Less
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? The answer: frugal innovation—the art of doing more, and better, with less.

Once the preserve of firms in emerging markets (China, India, Africa), Western firms such as GE, Levi Strauss, Novartis, Renault-Nissan, Siemens, Tarkett, and Unilever are adopting frugal innovation to appeal to cost-conscious and eco-aware customers at home.

These pioneers 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. With a trillion-dollar global market for frugal products and services, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionizing business and reshaping R&D, marketing, HR, and leadership practices.

Drawing upon his award-winning book Frugal Innovation published by The Economist, leading innovation expert Navi Radjou will show you can apply frugal principles and techniques to boost agility, innovate efficiently, and create 10x and even 100x more value using 10x/100x fewer resources. In particular you will learn:
- How leading firms like GE, Siemens, Novartis, Renault-Nissan, Tarkett, and Unilever are practicing frugal innovation—and the best practices we can learn from these pioneers
- How can firms adopt next-gen frugal business models such as B2B Sharing, Maker movement (Distributed Manufacturing), and Circular Economy (recycling/upcycling)
- How to co-create frugal products with digitally-empowered “prosumers” and partners
- How to achieve mass customization and learn to “scale out” (vs. scale up), using 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), micro-factories, low-cost open-source electronics (like the $30 Raspberry Pi), and Makerspaces (fablabs)
- How India, Africa China are using frugal innovation to leapfrog the West in education, finance, energy, and healthcare—and what Western firms can learn from their success
- How to change the corporate culture, HR policies, and leadership model to innovate faster, better, cheaper.
- How to design waste-free “circular” products and adopt leading sustainable practices that increase your “environmental handprint” and not just reduce your carbon footprint.

Topic 3: Beyond AI: Leading Wisely In The Post-Digital Society
Our modern society is obsessed with intelligence. We highly value “smart” phones, “smart” cars, “smart” cities. Likewise, smart people impress us with their intellectual power and uncanny ability to achieve their goals. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), people believe we need to “augment” our human intelligence to compete with AI.

But smartness alone is not always sufficient to keep leaders out of trouble and sustain their success over time. Leadership expert Navi Radjou proposes a different and counterintuitive approach to leadership that goes beyond optimizing “smartness” and is inspired by Eastern wisdom traditions.

Wise leadership, Radjou argues, means cultivating greater self-awareness, broadening one’s perspective, integrating logic, emotions, and intuition in decision-making, and acting with ethical clarity, flexibility, and authenticity.

Wise leadership is the foundation for lasting success in the emerging post-digital society, in which values-driven Generation Z employees and customers—who just overtook Millennials to represent 32% of the world’s population in 2019—seek meaning in life and want to work for, and buy from, purpose-driven companies.

Drawing on many inspiring real-life stories of wise leaders and his acclaimed book From Smart To Wise, Radjou will identify six core capabilities that managers at all levels can cultivate and use to operate consciously as a wise leader every day.

He will also examine how the post-digital society—anchored by the Gen Z—will radically reshape the core identity and values of businesses and reinvent the roles and responsibilities of leaders. Navi’s tools and framework will help you gain clarity about your role as a leader, enabling you to:
- Act in ways that are both authentic and appropriate
- Manage teams effectively and harness collective intelligence
- Make tough decisions without losing sleep
- How to balance fortitude and flexibility
- Gain ethical clarity and a sense of purpose
- Foster a productive, sustainable work environment

With the rise of AI, you can use these 6 wise capabilities to lead more effectively. As Navi points out: “You can’t out-smart AI, but you can out-wise AI !”

Topic 4: Intrapreneurship: How Large Organizations Can Accelerate Growth Through Innovation
The pressure to innovate is greater than ever before due to rapid changes in the global business environment. Yet large organizations struggle to innovate at rapid pace due to their traditional structure, strategies, culture, and leadership style.

Renowned innovation expert Navi Radjou—who has consulted, over the past 20 years, with many Fortune 500 companies—will reveal effective ways to breed entrepreneurial attitudes within large firms.

Using many real-life case studies Navi will show how your organization can master “intrapreneurship”—the art of reinventing your business model and “future proofing” your company, while running business as usual.

Navi will share proven frameworks and best practices you can use to innovate faster and better—by balancing scale and agility, encouraging productive risk-taking, leveraging the creativity of all your employees, cultivating external partnerships, and fostering wise leadership.

Topic 5: The Rise of China and India: Reinvent Your Firm for Global Growth
The world’s middle class will grow from 2 billion today to 5 billion by 2030. To capitalize on the rapid rise of emerging markets like China, Africa, India multinationals must abandon their insular and monolithic innovation model—that concentrated R&D resources in the West. Instead, they must embrace a “networked” innovation model in which R&D capabilities are distributed globally to sense and respond rapidly to local market needs—and yet are integrated in a loosely-coupled global innovation network to drive creative synergies on an international scale. Drawing on his twenty years of consulting experience in the US, Europe, and Asia, Navi Radjou shows the business benefits of networked innovation and offers a practical roadmap for traditional companies to embrace this new innovation model fit for success in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century.

What People are Saying about Seeing Navi Speak

Rating Entries

Navi has a rare and clear-eyed view of global markets. His ideas are truly fresh, and his delivery is filled with stories and humor.
— Christine Kinser, IBM Global Business Services

Navi Radjou offers a truly unique and valuable perspective which powerfully fuses together Europe, Silicon Valley and India.
— Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50 Founders

“Navi is an energetic, passionate speaker – expert in technology, business, and globalization.”
— George F. Colony, CEO, Forrester Research

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Books by Navi Radjou:

Frugal Innovation: How to do more with less

Frugal innovation is a way that companies can create high-quality products with limited resources. Once the preserve of firms in poor markets, Western companies are now seeking ways to appeal to cost-conscious and environmentally-aware consumers at home. With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for frugal products, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionizing business and reshaping management thinking. This book explains the principles, perspectives and techniques behind frugal innovation, enabling managers to profit from the great changes ahead. The book explains:

How to achieve mass customization, using low-cost robotics, inexpensive product design and virtual prototyping software.

How consumers and other external partners can help develop products

How to implement sustainable practices, such as the production of waste-free products

How to change the corporate culture to become more frugal.

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