An edited version of this paper is scheduled to appear as a chapter in a forthcoming book on Indian soft power by the Ananta Aspen Centre (AAC). The paper has been published in the Working Paper series of the TUHH Institute for Technology and Innovation Management. The project was initiated after being requested by the AAC to contribute a chapter to the aforementioned contributed volume in May 2017. The chapter was finally contributed in January 2018 and is now in the process of publication.
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.
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.