Expert workshop predicts high relevance of frugal innovation for German industry & society

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.


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Experten sehen frugale Innovationen auf dem Vormarsch

Erkenntnisse aus dem ersten gemeinsamen Workshop vom Fraunhofer-Zentrum Leipzig und der TU Hamburg

Am 12. Januar 2016 trafen sich rund 30 Vertreter aus Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Politik, um die Relevanz frugaler Innovationen für deutsche Unternehmen zu analysieren und zu diskutieren. Als „frugale Innovationen“ werden auf Kernfunktionen fokussierte, robuste, benutzerfreundliche und bezahlbare (Technologie-)Lösungen bezeichnet. Dieses Phänomen wurde bislang vornehmlich in Schwellenländern beobachtet. Für Industrienationen wie Deutschland könnte das frugale Innovationsmodel jedoch im Rahmen des internationalen Wettbewerbs große Potenziale bergen. Ebenso wird erwartet, dass die Bedeutung frugaler Innovationen im Hinblick auf den Binnenmarkt zunimmt.

Workshop-Teilnehmer im Gästehaus der Universität Hamburg (Bild: Kühl/TUHH)

Workshop-Teilnehmer im Gästehaus der Universität Hamburg (Bild: Kühl/TUHH)

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Call for Contributions – Scientific symposium: “Potentials of frugal innovation in industrial countries”

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.

This symposium is part of a larger research project funded by the BMBF as a part of its ITA (Innovations- und Technikanalysen) programme and entitled “Potentials, challenges and societal relevance of frugal innovations in the context of the global competition for innovation”. Project partners are the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy in Leipzig and the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at the Hamburg University of Technology.

Date: 24 June 2016, 10am – 5pm

Venue: HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Leipzig, Germany

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„Simple, simpler, the best…“! Germany waking up to Frugal Innovation?

On 15th April at the Hannover Messe the Federal State of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) is organizing a symposium on frugal innovations (language medium: German), with a subtitle which says „simple, simpler, the best“. The event which takes place at Nord/LB Forum between 14:00 and 18:00 hours would see several prominent speakers including Mr. Olaf Lies, Minister of Economy, Labour and Transport in Niedersachsen. Dr. Stephan Buse from CFI is also scheduled to deliver a talk with the title „Frugal Innovation – ein Konzept zur Erschließung kostensensitiver Märkte“ (English: Frugal Innovation – A Concept to Capture Cost-sensitive Markets“.

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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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