Understanding Frugal Innovation in Africa: Schumpeter revisited

Author(s): Van Beers, C., P. Knorringa & A. Leliveld
Publication date: 2016
Discussion paper for : Discussion Paper for REPOA’s 19th Annual Research Workshop ‘Transformation, Job Creation and Poverty Eradication’, 9-10 April 2014, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
& The International Workshop ‘The (Mis)Fortune of Frugal Innovation’, Grenoble, 28-29 March 2013.
Title: Understanding Frugal Innovation in Africa: Schumpeter revisited.

In this discussion paper we explore how and to what extent (Neo-) Schumpeterian Economics could provide for an analytical toolkit to better understand the phenomenon of frugal innovations in relation to economic transformation in Africa. We indicate that these theories provide useful entrances to capture and understand frugal innovation better. At the same time we argue that Schumpeterian theories need to be further refined and complemented to become an adequate analytical framework for analyzing frugal innovations in a developing country context. These refinements are on the one hand informed by some of the features of the empirical manifestation of frugal innovation itself, and on the other hand by the realities of economic structures and transformation in today’s Africa.                                                          

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