“Desenrascanço (loosely translatable as “disentanglement”) is a Portuguese word used, in common language, to express an ability to solve a problem without having the knowledge or the adequate tools to do so, by use of imaginative resources or by applying knowledge to new situations. Achieved when resulting in a hypothetical good-enough solution. When that good solution doesn’t occur we got a failure (enrascanço - entanglement). It is taught, more or less, informally in some Portuguese institutions, such as universities, navy or army. Portuguese people, strongly believe it to be one of the their most valued virtues and a living part of their culture. Desenrascanço, in fact, is the opposite of planning, but managing for the problem not becoming completely out of control and without solution.
However, some critics disagree with the association of the concept of desenrascanço with the mainstream Portuguese culture. They argue that desenrascanço is just a minor feature of some portuguese subcultures confined to some non-representative groups and to the end of the 20th century. Critics point out that in the last 30 years the education and culture of the portuguese people improved considerably and that the importance of desenrascanço is declining. Sometimes, the concept is related by some to the discoveries period or to student activities in the 15th century. But sceptics doubt there is any substantial prove of that relation. Critics also argue that there are other sub-cultures in other countries with equivalent concepts and that desenrascanço is not an exclusive of the Portuguese culture.”