Last week I attended an event at the UK India Business Council that featured the wonderful Dr Devi Shetty. He regaled the audience with the story of how his hospital had managed to deliver fantastic heart surgery to patients for a fraction of the price of similar treatments in western hospitals.
It's a wonderful example of what's known in India as jugaad innovation, or frugal innovation as it translates in English. It provides another insight into the way organisations are trying to do more with a whole lot less.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the way professionals are learning. Whereas traditionally professional education would require you to sign up to an expensive course at your local university, those same universities are now increasingly offering a whole range of courses online for free.
The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has taken off in a huge way in recent years, with platforms such as Coursera providing access to a host of courses from some of the biggest universities in the world, all for free.
They allow professionals to study whatever subject they like, whenever they want, all from the comfort of their home or office. The courses typically involve a series of video lectures, with discussion communities allowing students to network with their peers.
The most popular courses attract almost 100,000 students, most of whom enrol from all around the world. The allure of a MOOC is typified by the following presentation given to the TED conference by the founder of the MOOC network edX, Anant Argawal.
Courses typically cover a vast range of possible topics, from the purely academic to the strictly business. Whether it's business strategy or creativity, there is sure to be a course that will meet your requirements.
The courses are usually run over several weeks, with each week requiring in the region of 6-10 hours of attention per week. They're designed to be done as and when you can find the time, but of course you will get the best results when you commit to the course.
They are undoubtedly however one of the best ways to be frugal yet incredibly effective at work. What other ways can you think of to save money?