A case of frugal organizational innovation in governance!?

By: Rajnish Tiwari

Just noticed an interesting news item from India in The Economic Times of Oct. 22, 2014. The government has decided to put all replies to queries filed under the “Right to Information” (RTI) act online so that not only the person/organization having filed the query receives the information, but any interested person worldwide.

According to the report:

“Starting next month [i.e. Novemebr 2014], all replies given under RTI by ministries will be posted online, available for access to all and not just to persons seeking the information. This will mean unprecedented scale of disclosure and cheer transparency advocates […]. Until now, only the person filing the RTI application seeking replies from a ministry or a government department would get the reply and that too mostly via post.”

I imgaine that this move could be proably seen as a frugal innovation – an organizational innovation in the sense of the OECD/Eurostat definition of what an innovation is. By employing a high-tech/Internet-based solution the govt. can combat corruption while being able to dissemniate relevant information of public interest worldwide for almost no additional costs.

Read the complete news report: “Narendra Modi government takes RTI to another level: All replies to be put online” (Oct. 22, 2014), accessed: Nov. 2, 2014.

Imperative of Frugal Innovations for Emerging Markets and Beyond

A Report on the Schmalenbach-TUHH Symposium

 By: Dr. Rajnish Tiwari

A group photo of symposium participants / photo: TIM-TUHH/Göldner

On the 9th and 10th October 2014 a well-received symposium on the topic of frugal innovation was held at the premises of Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). The symposium, carrying the title “Frugal Innovation” und die Internationalisierung der FuE: Hintergründe, Strategien, Fallstudien (English title: “Frugal Innovation and the Internationalization of R&D: Backgrounds, Strategies and Case Studies”) was organized by the Working Group on Innovation Management of the Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e.V. (hereafter SG) in collaboration with the Center for Frugal Innovation (hereafter CFI) of TUHH. The symposium with close to 45 participants from the industry and academia was well-attended and saw some very interesting contributions by invited speakers. The insights generated here through a unique setting of business/academia interaction can potentially push the envelope of research and help expand the currently limited understanding of frugal innovations.

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TUHH-Artikel: “Mit bescheidenen Mitteln effiziente Lösungen finden”

Auf dem Weg hin zur Entwicklung frugaler Produkte begleiten TUHH-Wirtschaftswissenschaftler interessierte Unternehmen

Frugal. Was der Duden dazu schreibt

„Frugal leitet sich her aus dem Lateinischen. Frugalis bedeutet zu den Früchten gehörig und fruchtig. Im Alltag bezieht sich das eher selten genutzte Adjektiv im Besonderen auf das Leben allgemein, Essen und Trinken, das als frugal beschrieben durch Einfach- und Bescheidenheit besticht. Als mögliche Synonyme bietet der Duden u.a. an: anspruchslos, ärmlich, armselig, bescheiden, einfach, genügsam, karg, kärglich, kümmerlich, puritanisch, schlicht, spärlich, spartanisch.“

Weniger ist mehr. Diese Lebensphilosophie der Bescheidenheit ist auf dem Weg zu einem erfolgversprechenden Verkaufsmodell in Schwellenländern wie Indien und China. Mit einfachen, aber guten, sprich frugalen Produkten, wollen sich deutsche Unternehmen in Schwellenländern positionieren. Bisher jedoch gelingt es nur wenigen von ihnen, ihre gewohnt hohen Qualitätsstandards zu reduzieren und mit einem erschwinglichen und gleichzeitig funktionalen, robusten Produkt Kaufinteresse zu wecken.

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New article: “Changing Dynamics of Lead Markets: A New Role for Emerging Economies as Innovation Hubs”

A new article by Rajnish Tiwari and Cornelius Herstatt, published in The European Financial Review, issue April/May 2014, pp. 69-72.

Lead markets play a crucial role in the global diffusion of innovations. Innovative firms actively seek access to such markets whilst policy makers, especially in Europe, have attempted to foster lead markets by concerted policy measures. Below, Rajnish Tiwari and Cornelius Herstatt suggest that the conventional wisdom on the emergence and functioning of lead markets needs a rethink to better reflect the changing dynamics in the global economy, and argue that dynamic economic growth in largely unsaturated markets and increasing technological capabilities are letting new lead markets emerge in the developing world.

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Planned Obsolescence: Taking a Closer Look at Environmental Aspects of Frugal Innovation

By: Rajnish Tiwari

Planned obsolescence is causing not only immense harm to the environment, it might even be regarded as a risky, and to some extent an irresponsible, business strategy in a world where consumption is growing exponentially owing to the rise of the middle class in the emerging economies like China, India and much beyond; and where natural resources are depleting even faster. Average prices of some commdities (e.g. iron ore) have increased over 300% in past 12-13 years. Maybe frugal innovations are both a means and a wake-up call for us as consumers and producers to “return back” to a greater individual and collective relationality.

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