About Frugal Innovation

We are a multi-disciplinary academic research centre, investigating frugal innovation processes and their economic, social and environmental impacts.

Contributing to better living conditions and more sustainable societies. Is this possible? We examine in the role of innovations, namely innovations that take scarcity and not abundance into account. Innovations that aim to do more and better with less. We therefore investigate whether and under what circumstances the perspective of frugal innovation can contribute to sustainable and inclusive development. With attention to technology, entrepreneurship and context, and using local ideas, knowledge and resources.

What is Frugal Innovation?

Frugal innovations aim to offer smart, simple and affordable solutions. Frugal innovation processes start from the identification of needs and bottlenecks especially for underprivileged sections in society.

Frugal innovators can for example be individuals or local communities engaged in grassroot innovations to solve their own immediate problems, NGOs and social enterprises developing frugal innovations like apps for refugees, or commercial firms developing frugal innovations to penetrate so-called Base of the Pyramid markets. While we do not focus on developing our own frugal innovations, we do like to work together with frugal innovators as part of together learning about innovation processes and impacts

The challenge is to provide value sensitive innovations without sacrificing user value. Such frugal innovations need to fit local circumstances and cultures in order to be successful for both suppliers and demanders. Successful frugal technologies and innovations are increasingly co-produced in so-called polycentric networks of innovation that link several stakeholders to each other such as entrepreneurs, designers, financiers, manufacturers and distributors from various parts of the globe.