Technological innovation can take several forms: frugal innovation, sustainable innovation and reverse innovation. In this short post with complementary references, we focus on frugal innovation.
What is frugal innovation?
It is a type of innovation that implies that technological products are designed and customized within the context of limited resources to adapt to specific markets with optimal cost and quality.
“an innovative fix; an improvised solution born from ingenuity and cleverness”Radjou et al. 2012
“Frugal Innovation is a design innovation process in which the needs and context of citizens in the developing world are put first in order to develop appropriate, adaptable, affordable, and accessible services and products for emerging markets”Basu et al. 2013
Frugal innovation relies on 6 principles:
“1. Find opportunities in a context of adversity and transform constraints into opportunities,
2. Do more with less,
3. Think and act with agility,
4. Aim for simplicity,
5. Involve the marginal population, and
6. Follow your heart”Radjou et al. 2013
Frugal innovations in developing and emerging countries
The notion of ‘frugal mindset’ has arisen in developing and emerging markets (India, China, Kenya, Philippines, etc.) characterized by high resource constraints and growing business opportunities. Some examples below:
Mastering the challenging of the post-Corona World
Covid-19 crisis disrupted traditional processes of testing and trialing new technologies, processes and medicines. In countries with low resources, many frugal innovations emerged in this context.
In today’s context of market uncertainity, technological innovation can help achieving both human and businesses future as well as sustainable goals.
The importance and relevance of frugal innovation to developed markets: milestones towards the economics of frugal innovation