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Frugal Innovation
Models, Means, Methods

$32.99 (F)

  • Date Published: March 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316638644

$ 32.99 (F)

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About the Authors
  • In light of growing discourse on 'frugal innovation', this book offers novel approaches to innovation based on extensive empirical research. The study complements a decade of scholarly attention on frugal innovation by taking a research-based approach to innovation in resource-scarce and complex institutional contexts. The findings suggest that concepts such as frugal, reverse, jugaad, social, grassroots and inclusive innovation in fact represent heterogeneous assemblies of innovation for social, environmental and economic value. The conceptual framework invites attention to more plural sources and elements in the study of models of innovation to inspire further research in the fields of strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, economic sociology and development studies. The design framework offers models, metrics and competencies for practitioners and policymakers to identify, evaluate and design frugal innovations. The comprehensive view of frugal innovation demonstrates how firms can implement globally competitive strategies by pursuing innovation for humanity to improve lives for everyone, everywhere.

    • Grounds arguments for frugal innovation in empirical research and develops a new theory
    • Speaks to researchers by critically appraising the literature, and presents detailed methodology in an appendix
    • Contains practical advice and toolkits to help researchers, practitioners and policymakers identify potential frugal innovations
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Targeted at scholars and providing a solid foundation for future research, Frugal Innovation also offers keen insights on how social entrepreneurs conceive innovation in multiple dimensions. Practitioners will find experience-based frameworks that help them synthesize and communicate the integrative nature of innovations that benefit the underserved. Like social entrepreneurship, frugal innovation is a term with many meanings. Integrative, synthetic, and clear, the authors examine multiple dimensions of innovation and distil frugal innovation as a hybrid approach tuned to environments with extreme resource constraints and resource voids. Both researchers and practitioners will benefit from learning how social entrepreneurs themselves perceive innovation.' Thane Kreiner, Executive Director and Howard and Alida Charney University Professor, Santa Clara University, California

    'Frugal innovation is a topic of considerable interest to companies, policy makers and researchers. It offers both innovation to connect the poorest and most disadvantaged citizens to the benefits of new products and services and opportunities for firms to identify new and potentially lucrative markets. This important book offers important new conceptual and practical insights into frugal innovation and should be seen as essential reading for anyone engaging with this topic.' Alex Nicholls, University of Oxford and Editor of The Journal of Social Entrepreneurship

    'Frugal Innovation: New Models of Innovation and Theoretical Development will be a must have for academics, entrepreneurs, corporates and investors. It will advance how to get to inclusive solutions not merely based on cost-effectiveness and financial returns but combining them with purpose and impact. This book shows that frugal innovation is not just another innovation term but the empirical based models and theories that the authors have proposed will help enable creating and scaling solutions under resource constraints both by social entrepreneurs and traditional businesses.' Venkata Gandikota, President and co-founder, The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society

    'This book should give tremendous impetus for serious and rigorous academic research on innovation under severe constraints.' Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor at Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth and author of Reverse Innovation

    'This book complements previous books in helping to establish frugal innovation as a field that merits serious attention in the diverse worlds of academia, practice and policy. It extends prior work by developing models, frameworks and tools to help scholars, innovators and managers to deliver meaningful and much needed innovation for all of humanity.' Jaideep Prabhu, Judge Business School, Cambridge and author of Jugaad Innovation and Frugal Innovation

    'Policymakers around the world and especially in emerging markets can leverage frugal innovations to better promote human welfare. The models and tools in this book should support leaders in their efforts to foster equitable growth and sustainable development.' Shaukat Aziz, Chairman of the Oxford Emerging Markets Symposium Steering Committee and former Prime Minister of Pakistan

    'To solve the wicked problems confronting humanity and the planet, we need frugal innovators - wise problem solvers who operate with a business mind, social heart, and ecological soul. Building on earlier works on frugal innovation, this scholarly book offers a rigorous theoretical framework to understand, teach, and practice the art and science of designing and delivering frugal solutions that integrate six key elements: affordability, accessibility, simplicity, sustainability, quality, and purpose.' Navi Radjou, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and co-author of Jugaad Innovation and Frugal Innovation

    'New models of innovation are desperately needed in global health systems which are being squeezed by increasing demand, declining budgets and rising complexity of disease. This book shows how frugal innovations can play a vital role in containing soaring healthcare costs while upholding quality standards, something which simply cannot be compromised in healthcare.' Ara Darzi, Imperial College London, member of the House of Lords and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health

    'This book is needed! The marrying of social value and business value has gained steam in many circles with a focus on value - both human and economic. Frugal Innovation widens the path for intrepid innovators by grounding insightful conceptual frameworks upon an extensive base of empirical evidence.' Kristian Olson, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies and Associate Professor, Harvard University Medical School, Massachusetts

    ‘Taken as a whole, the book provides some deep insights into frugal innovation with the help of models and frameworks. It also provides a means for academics and practitioners to gain an understanding of frugal innovation with some prevalent cases. The book serves as a useful primer for anyone aspiring to research this area, and its illustration of innovation issues using various examples will be helpful for scholars.’ Mokter Hossain, R&D Management

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316638644
    • length: 339 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.505kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 36 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Models of Frugal Innovation:
    1. Outline of the context, literature and methodology
    2. Conceptualising innovation – Model 1
    3. Conceptualising innovation under constraints – Model 2
    Part II. Towards a Theory of Frugal Innovation:
    4. Integrative results and theory development
    5. Test of models using secondary cases
    6. Emerging concepts in innovation
    7.  Implications for research, practice and policy
    Part III. Tools for Practice and Research: Appendix A. Toolkit to identify frugal innovations
    Appendix B. Core competencies from the frugal innovation lab
    Appendix C. Detailed research methodology and design
    Select Bibliography.

  • Authors

    Yasser Bhatti, Imperial College London
    Yasser Bhatti is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London. His social innovation research focuses on the role of emerging market economies and situated actors, such as social entrepreneurs, in emerging trends in innovation that include frugal and reverse innovation. Most recently, he served as an expert on the scientific advisory board of the European Commission project on Frugal Innovation.

    Radha Ramaswami Basu, iMerit Inc.
    Radha Ramaswami Basu has over forty years of experience in technology innovation and management. She is widely recognized as a leading woman entrepreneur in hi-tech companies and as a pioneer in the Indian software business. Radha is founder and CEO of iMerit Inc., a technology services company ( that pioneers the 'smart sourcing model', working on latest AI, machine learning and ecommerce services for global clients. Radha was Founder and Director of Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University, California, and sits on the boards of NetHope, Santa Clara University Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Jhumki Basu Foundation. She has won numerous awards including the first UN Women GEMTECH award, Excelsior Leadership, Top25 Women of the Web, CEO of the Year 2000, and Leader of the Millennium.

    David Barron, University of Oxford
    David Barron is a Rhodes Trust Associate Professor in Organisational Sociology at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, as well as the Vice Principal and a Fellow and Tutor in Management Studies at Jesus College, Oxford. After graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1979 with a degree in natural sciences, he worked for several years as a social worker in Scotland and London, before completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology at Cornell University. David Barron's research is concerned with the sociology of organisations, quantitative research methods and social networks.

    Marc J. Ventresca, University of Oxford
    Marc J. Ventresca is an economic sociologist in the Strategy, Innovation and Marketing Faculty at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson College. His research and teaching focus on the formation of markets and networks in business and social settings. Specifically, he researches how markets are built and the actors who build them. He is also an expert in the areas of governance, innovation and technology and how they interact with markets and networks.

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