frugal innovation education course - minor frugal innovation for sustainable global development - group picture students and lecturers 2019-2020
Education Program
Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development (FI4SGD)

Minor FI4SGD

In this education file you can read all about the minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development (FI4SGD).  CFIA organizes each year a unique education program for third year bachelor students from Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

In the program, participating students will have the opportunity to work with students from other universities and disciplines, allowing them to step outside of their monodisciplinary frame of reference.

This education program is set up and coordinated by the CFIA with is made possible in collaboration with the African Study Centre. Lectures from TBM, RSM, ISS and other knowledge partner institutes contribute expertise from their respective disciplines.

The minor combines theory, practice and societal engagement. Apart from gaining theoretical knowledge during academic modules, students have the unique opportunity to go abroad for a 12-week field work assignment.

Looking at frugality / Frugal innovation from three perspectives: technology, entrepreneurship and development


What is frugal innovation?

Frugal innovation concerns the (re)development of products, services and systems for the lowest possible cost price, while retaining user quality. Frugal innovation can therefore make a substantial difference to the quality of life of consumers and producers at the lower levels of the socio-economic pyramid. This burgeoning innovation concept is also linked to issues of economic and ecological sustainability and social inclusion – not only in developing countries, but also in Europe.

This minor introduces students from a range of degree programmes to the concept of frugal innovation, the underlying principle of ‘frugality’ and the applicability of the concept within the framework of the United Nations’ sustainable development objectives (SDGs).

Practicing frugal innovation

In addition to academic modules in the minor, students will:

  • attend (guest) lectures from experts from the business community, government bodies and NGOs
  • participate in a pressure cooker, during which students will work on a real-life case
  • integrate economic, sustainability and developmental perspectives
  • put their acquired expertise into practice during a field assignment (internship) abroad. During the 2018-2020 editions our students have gone to work on challening projects in Kenya, Uganda, Suriname, Malaysia, Ghana, Suriname, Curacao and Cambodia. 

Join our program!

Are you up for a multidisciplinary challenge? Do you want to combine theory and practice and do you like to apply your acquired knowledge and skills in a field work assignment abroad? Are you interested in learning about frugality/frugal innovation and critically explore the concept from a technology, developmental and entrepreneurial perspective? Would you like to apply your academic knowledge to practical case studies and real-life situations, including a ten weeks field assignment abroad?

If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this minor! The next edition of this education program will run from September 2020 until January 2021.


>>> Follow the CFIA student ambassadors on their GOFRUGAL instagram page

>>> For further information on this Leiden, Delft Erasmus selection minor and on how to apply will be uploaded on this webpage in Februari 2020. 

Sign-up here to receive notifications on updates regarding the Minor FI4SGD edition 2020-2021


Action Learning Cases

How can frugal innovation contribute to sustainable global development?

By conducting group field work in a number of concrete cases, the students teams in this education program, reproduce and interpret knowledge about frugal innovation from a technological, entrepreneurial and developmental perspective. The teams apply these perspectives critically to a selection of action learning cases from different parts of the world and analyze and interpret the potential of frugality/frugal innovation in the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their field assignments.

Participants in our program will learn from other disciplines, and relate this knowledge to and integrate into their own disciplinary background, and from there, make a constructive contribution to the debate on frugal innovation and sustainable global development.

Read more about the several action learning cases from the 2019-2020 edition.