Frugal innovation – activity



Activity: Frugal innovation


This is an approach to innovation which is based on the principle of simplification – finding solutions to a problem which solve the problem but without adding unnecessary costs or adding unwanted functions. A description can be found in the ‘Deep dive’ section of the Portal and some case examples include its application in Aravind Eye Clinics, NHL and Lifespring Hospitals (all on the Portal).


Read the Deep Dive piece about Frugal innovation and one of the cases, or explore the Internet for examples and ideas around the concept. (See for example,


Now think of a product or service and explore how you would simplify it to produce a reliable and robust low cost version suitable for application in rural India or Africa. What would be the challenges in creating the innovation and how might you accelerate its diffusion to a wide market?


Would this idea also have potential application back in ‘mainstream’ markets? Could it offer ‘reverse innovation’ possibilities? What would be the challenges in bringing it to such established markets as a potentially disruptive innovation?