Wikipedia says ‘frugal innovation is the process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Usually this refers to removing nonessential features from a durable good, such as a car or phone, in order to sell it in developing countries. Designing products for such countries may also call for an increase in durability and, when selling the products, reliance on unconventional distribution channels. When trying to sell to so-called "overlooked consumers", firms hope volume will offset razor-thin profit margins. Globalization and rising incomes in developing countries may also drive frugal innovation. Such services and products need not be of inferior quality but must be provided cheaply. In May 2012 The Financial Times newspaper called the concept "increasingly fashionable".
Several US universities have programs that develop frugal solutions. Such efforts include the Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University and a two quarter project course at Stanford University, the Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability program.’
In the Netherlands The University of Leiden, Delft and the Erasmus University have a jointly run Centre for Frugal Innovation.
OtherWise organises an evening event on frugal innovations. They have invited Haye Hazenberg and Iva Pesa, both researcher, to talk about this subject.
Haye Hazenberg - Researcher
Haye is a postdoctoral researcher within the Frugal Innovations and Responsible Entrepreneurship: Case Studies in the Water and Health Sectors in East Africa project which is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Responsible Innovation program. Herein he studies the possibility of developing an ethical business model for technological innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
Haye has a PhD in Philosophy from K.U. Leuven University (thesis: A Theory of Global Justice and Global Governance).
Iva Pesa - Researcher
Iva is a postdoctoral researcher within the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (a centre jointly run by Leiden, Delft and Eramus Universities). She studies frugal innovations on the Zambian Copperbelt, such as improved cook stoves and mobile money. Her research focuses on the interplays between technology, entrepreneurship and development.
Iva has a PhD in History from Leiden University, focusing on the social history of Mwinilunga District in North-Western Zambia.