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.