children with solar lights
From mobile money to healthcare solutions

The Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa runs several research projects focused on a variety of topics in the field of Frugal Innovation studies.

Projects include for example studies on key characteristics of Frugal Innovation, the inclusion of women in Frugal businesses and the development of a 'Frugal Thermometer'.


There is very little understanding of the conditions under which frugal innovations are more likely to offer development opportunities for local producers and consumers in the developing world, and whether frugal innovations can have positive developmental implications.

Critics argue that frugal innovations create new forms of market governance by multinational enterprises (MNEs) over the informal poor, reconfiguring their habits, social practices, and economic strategies under the banner of poverty reduction. We think that for an adequate understanding of the developmental potential of frugal innovations we need analytical frameworks and theories that go beyond the rather normative and prescriptive theories that currently dominate the academic discourse on frugal innovations. 

Prof. dr. Peter Knorringa: Our aim is to move beyond individual case studies and to develop a systematic understanding of frugal innovation ecosystems

Our aim is to develop analytical frameworks and thinking models that can help us to better understand and assess the developmental implications of frugal innovation, and can therewith lead to a more balanced perspective on what the phenomenon of frugal innovation entails, both locally, nationally and globally.