In a recent topic on Forbes.com the hot topic was frugal innovation. Karl Moore talks about his recent trip to India and the “Jugaad mindset, a Hindi word that in a nutshell refers to making do with what one has to solve one’s problems.”
There are some key points to his article that illustrate the concept of frugal innovation and why it’s valuable.
1. Frugal innovation results in great value: no-frills, good quality, functional products that are also affordable to the customer with modest means.
2. Frugal innovation goes beyond clever R&D. It has a lot to do with process – maximizing the efficiency of the supply chain.
3. No fuel, no capital investment, almost no modern technology, and yet a high quality of service: that’s frugality at its best.
4. The circumstances of the operating environment matters a great deal when it comes to frugal innovation.
To compliment these ideas we have a list of core competencies that are taught in our Frugal Innovation Lab:
- Reliance on local materials and manufacturing
- User-centric design
Frugal Innovation has been part of local organizations and processes for decades, but applying these concepts to technological and multi-national organizations is where it will get interesting. Adopting the paradigm of frugal innovation should create better products with more efficient production and delivery. Overall this paradigm shift has the potential to create a positive impact for millions in underserved markets whether it’s in clean energy, health care, or mobile applications and instrumentation.
By Radha Basu, Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor of Science, Technology and Society at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society Dean's Executive Professor, School of Engineering. Radha served as the Managing Director of the Center for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Learn more about SCU's CSTS Frugal Innovation Intiative: