Frugal Innovation Supports Customer-Obsessed Innovation

Dan Bieler
Principal Analyst
August 29, 2016

Photo: Indian By Design

The age of the customer demands that businesses drive innovation at ever faster speeds and with limited budgets. More than ever, innovation is of the essence, and innovation must be cost-effective. Frugal innovation offers an alternative approach to driving innovation as it is based on the tenet to do “more with less” in contrast to the widespread practice to increase the R&D budget. Frugal innovation:

  • Opens opportunities to cater to people “at the bottom of the pyramid.” Traditional R&D often ignores those customers with lower purchasing power. Frugal innovation specifically targets this customer segment, opening up opportunities for new revenue streams.
  • Is complimentary to traditional R&D, not a substitute. Frugal innovation will not replace traditional innovation, but it will add a new approach to drive innovation.
  • Requires a change of mindset and a different approach to innovation. The frugal innovator’s mindset sees constraints not as a disadvantage, but an opportunity. Frugal innovation supports and furthers a mindset for global innovative collaboration.

Frugal innovation matters to technology managers, as it benefits tremendously from the spread of cutting-edge, affordable, and scalable technology. And frugal innovation complements and simplifies existing technology. My report “Frugal Innovation Supports Customer-Obsessed Innovation” helps technology managers and their business partners to provide the necessary technology infrastructure with the goal to reach new customers with lower-purchasing power, establish lower-cost innovation methods, and become more involved in the maker- and co-innovation movement.


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