Lead Market India pp 13-35

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Frugal Innovation: An Assessment of Scholarly Discourse, Trends and Potential Societal Implications

  • Rajnish Tiwari
  • Luise Fischer
  • Katharina Kalogerakis
Chapter

Abstract

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. This paper has a twofold objective: (a) It seeks to establish the theoretical antecedents of frugal innovation by examining the scholarly discourse; and (b) It attempts to generate hypotheses about its long-term relevance by examining historical trends of frugality and their disappearance. Based upon an extensive literature review and some preliminary primary data we propose a new working definition for frugal innovation and hypothesize that frugality was a key social value with positive associations before the era of unprecedented prosperity in the industrialized world, which led to saturated markets and inter alia to feature-driven competition and over-consumption of resources. New ground realities, e.g., economic downturn in the industrialized world and the rapidly rising consumption in the economically developing world, are expected to turn frugality, once again, into an important societal value and frugal innovation into a critical success factor in mid-term future.

Keywords

Frugal innovation Frugality Thrift Responsible innovation Sustainable growth Competitiveness International business Emerging economies Industrialized nations 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajnish Tiwari
    • 1
  • Luise Fischer
    • 2
  • Katharina Kalogerakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Hamburg University of TechnologyHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge EconomyLeipzigGermany

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