The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 136–157 | Cite as

Does Frugal Innovation Enable Sustainable Development? A Systematic Literature Review

  • Eugenia RoscaEmail author
  • Jack Reedy
  • Julia C. Bendul
Special Issue Article


The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations recognize and promote inter- and intra-dependencies between the economic, social and ecological dimensions, emphasize the inclusion of local communities in the development processes and the need for sustainable consumption and production. To achieve these goals, interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts are needed. Frugal innovation emerges as a paradigm challenging traditional innovation pathways which may have the potential to bring together different stakeholders’ efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. This systematic literature review analyzes current research linking the concepts of frugal innovation and sustainable development. The aim is to highlight approaches and conditions in which frugal innovations can drive sustainable development, especially in relation to different types of private sector actors. Based on the content analysis of current studies, we formulate shortcomings of existing research and develop a research agenda with the aim to bring the two research streams closer.


frugal innovation sustainability inclusive development Base of the Pyramid sustainable development 

Les Objectifs de Développement Durable fixés par les Nations Unies reconnaissent et promeuvent les inter et intra dépendances entre les dimensions économiques, sociales et écologiques, soulignent l’inclusion des communautés locales dans les processus de développement et la nécessité d’une consommation et d’une production durables. Pour atteindre ces objectifs, des efforts interdisciplinaires et collaboratifs sont nécessaires. L’innovation frugale émerge comme un paradigme qui défie les voies d’innovation traditionnelles et qui peut avoir le potentiel de rassembler les efforts des différentes parties prenantes pour atteindre les objectifs de développement durable. Cette revue systématique de la littérature analyse les études actuelles qui relient les concepts d’innovation frugale et de développement durable. L’objectif est de mettre l’accent sur les approches et les conditions dans lesquelles les innovations frugales peuvent stimuler le développement durable, notamment en ce qui concerne les différents types d’acteurs du secteur privé. Sur la base de l’analyse du contenu des études actuelles, nous formulons des lacunes des études existantes et développons un programme de recherche dans le but de rapprocher les deux axes de recherche.


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© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mathematics and LogisticsJacobs University Bremen gGmbHBremenGermany

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