Panel on Partnerships & Frugal Innovation during the CSSI virtual symposium 2020.

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End date
Panel Session 5 - Virual Parallel Session Room A

CSSI 2020 Special Pannel Partnering and Frugal InnovationGreetje Schouten, Winfred Onyas and Peter Knorringa will host a Panel on Partnerships & Frugal Innovation during the CSSI virtual symposium 2020.

The CSSI symposia is an important gathering of practitioners and academics who come to share best practice and to discuss future issues in the design and practice of cross-sector partnerships. It is a setting where policy makers, civil servants, CEOs, and academics can discuss the nature and role of partnering and multi- stakeholder initiatives to address key challenges in, for example, climate, energy, poverty urbanization, and sustainable development.

The main theme of CSSI 2020 is “Putting Partnerships in their Place: Exploring the relationships between Practices, Policy and Place in Cross Sector Organising.” At the event, academics and practitioners will present and discuss new and innovative ideas for organizing and managing cross-sector collaboration.

About the Special session Partnerships & Frugal Innovation

We are delighted to chair the Partnering and Frugal Innovation track at the CSSI 2020 conference. The track explores:

1) the conditions under which partnering processes can contribute to impactful frugal innovation processes;
2) the role of partnering in the scaling of frugal innovation processes; and
3) the role of partnering in embedding frugal innovations in different contexts (including business ecosystems).

With an exciting line up of presentations to look forward to, the track will feature empirical research conducted in challenging socio-economic environments in Colombia, Uganda and Kenya. The papers will stimulate discussions on: innovating in challenging socio-economic circumstances; how innovations help improve people’s quality of life; how and whether frugal innovators working in supportive environments impact livelihoods at the BoP; how cross-sector partnerships emerge and evolve to shape and develop a new technology; and how portfolio ecosystems can be developed to support sustainable frugal innovations.

Frugal Innovation and Partnering Panel Papers 

  • "Make Things Happen": University-Industry Interaction as a Partnership Mechanism to Drive Frugal Innovation in Colombia.
    Darío Reyes Reina, Ariane Agnes Corradi, Márcia Siqueira Rapini
  • Building portfolio synergies and ecosystems to support sustainable frugal innovations
    Winfred Onyas, Grace Sojourner, Mariah Nakintu
  • The impact partnerships and frugal innovations on livelihood at the Base of Pyramid: The Value chain perspective
    Sarah Kyejjusa
  • Partnership based Innovation: tracing the emergence of a new device in a MNC-NGO partnership network
    Annmarie Ryan, Paul Elingstad

About Frugal Innovation

Frugal innovation involves (re)designing products, services or systems to significantly cut costs, without forfeiting user value, in order to include consumers at the Base and Middle of the Pyramid (Knorringa et al.,2016). Scholars approach frugal innovations from multiple angles, for example: conceptually versus empirically, top-down versus bottom-up, and as similar or divergent from forms of innovation such as Jugaad, inclusive, grassroots and reverse innovations. Altogether, these efforts aim to better our understanding of, and develop discussions on an embryonic concept – its processes, prospects and constraints, majorly in developing and emerging settings. Of recent, frugal innovation has received increasing attention from scholars and practitioners alike because of its assumed potential to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (Pisoni et al., 2018;Rosca et al., 2018). Considered as an important tool for sustainable development, frugal innovation is assumed to require “combined efforts, competences, resources, and motivation of several groups of stakeholders, including private sector actors, governments, development agencies, and civil society” (Rosca et al., 2018, p. 152). Partnerships between businesses and actors from civil society and/or government are found to improve business responsiveness to customer needs in BoP contexts and are considered crucial for commercially successful and scalable marketing strategies (Lashitew et al., 2018). It is assumed that by combining unique resources and capabilities in partnering processes, outcomes can be delivered, which exceed those of any one sector acting in isolation (Googins & Rochlin, 2000). Hence, the suggested synergy between business interests and development goals seems to be contingent on partnering processes, which requires a careful unpacking of such processes evolving in frugal innovation contexts.

- Bhatti, Y. & Ventresca, M. (2012). The emerging market for frugal innovation: fad, fashion, or fit?. SSRN.
- Bitzer, V., & Glasbergen, P. (2015). Business–NGO partnerships in global value chains: part of the solution or part of the problem of sustainable change?. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 12, 35-40.
- Googins, B. & Rochlin, S. (2000). Creating the partnership society: Understanding the rhetoric and reality of cross-sectoral partnerships. Business and society review, 105.1: 127-144.
- Knorringa, P., Peša, I., Leliveld, A., & Van Beers, C. (2016). Frugal innovation and development: Aides or
adversaries?. The European Journal of Development Research, 28(2), 143-153.
- Lashitew A, Bals L, van Tulder R (2018). Inclusive business at the base of the pyramid: the role of
embeddedness for enabling social innovations. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-28.
- Peltoniemi M. (2006). Preliminary theoretical framework for the study of business ecosystems. Emergence: Complexity and Organization.
- Pisoni, A., Michelini, L., & Martignoni, G. (2018). Frugal approach to innovation: State of the art and future perspectives. Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 107-126.
- Prahalad, C.K., 2012. Bottom of the Pyramid as a Source of Breakthrough Innovations. Journal of product innovation management, 29(1), pp.6-12.
- Rosca, E., Reedy, J., & Bendul, J. C. (2018). Does frugal innovation enable sustainable development? A
systematic literature review. The European Journal of Development Research, 30(1), 136-15

More information for practitioners
The CSSI conference brings together experts across sectors to share their experience and expertise. Practitioners are welcome from the corporate, public and NGO sectors.  In an open and friendly environment you will have the opportunity to share your organisation's best practice in cross sector  partnerships. You will have the opportunity to learn and develop your partnering practices by meeting and listening to the world's top experts in the field. Present a case study of your partnering experience and be assigned an academic mentor to help you hone your partnership practices. Meet with your peers working in similar roles to learn and develop together.

See CSSI's practitioner deck here for more information that you can share in your organisation. For more information regarding Partnering & Frugal Innovation please contact us via