On 12 January 2016, around 30 stakeholders from industry, academia and politics met in Hamburg to analyse and discuss the relevance of frugal innovations for German companies and society-at-large. Frugal innovations are defined as (technological) solutions, focussed on their core functions robustness, user-friendliness and affordability. This phenomenon has, so far, predominantly been observed in emerging markets. The model of frugal innovations could, however, also hold great potentials for industrialized nations, such as Germany, and other international marketplaces. The importance of frugal innovations is, as evidence shows, expected to increase for the domestic market, too.
Authored by: Rajnish Tiwari a, Luise Fischer b and Katharina Kalogerakis a
a Center for Frugal Innovation, Institute for Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Hamburg, Germany
b Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy (MOEZ), Leipzig, Germany
The topic of frugal innovation is increasingly gaining relevance in social as well as scholarly discourse. Frugal innovations have been perceived by many to be a phenomenon generally confined to emerging economies where there are large groups of unserved consumers with unmet needs. But there is increasing evidence that this phenomenon is getting relevant also in the industrialized nations potentially affecting the long-term competitiveness of domestic firms not only overseas but also at home.
Frugal innovations offer high customer value (core functionality, durability, ease of use) as well as significantly reduced costs of ownership compared with standard products and services. The phenomenon of frugal innovations was initially observed in emerging economies and the scholarly discourse still largely focuses on this context. Now there is increasing evidence that frugal solutions are also diffusing in the economically developed nations. It is, however unclear, to what extent frugal innovations are relevant for industrial economies such as Germany in economic and socio-political contexts.
(clock-wise: Kaushik Roy, Stephan Buse, Rajnish Tiwari and Cornlius Herstatt; at the All India Radio in New Delhi. Photo courtsey: All India Radio)
Recently, on a visit to India, the External Services Division of the All India Radio (AIR) expressed interest in speaking to Prof. Dr. Cornelius Herstatt, Dr. Stephan Buse and Dr. Rajnish Tiwari, to discuss the avenues of Indo-German collaboration in the field of technology. The time of the talk could not have been more appropriate as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was then on an official visit in India leading a large delegation. There was a keen interest being expressed in the public space about Germany and Indo-German collaboration.
The resulting interview, of about 22 minutes’ duration, and touching on different aspects of collaboration, was broadcast on Sunday, 11th October 2015, in the program “Dateline Delhi”.