Call for abstracts for panel Partnering and Frugal Innovation

CSSI2020 Symposium

CSSI 2020 Special Pannel Partnering and Frugal Innovation

CFIA research partners Greetje Schouten, Winfred Onyas and Peter Knorringa will organize the special panel Partnering and Frugal Innovation on June 24th-27th 2020 during the 7th biennial International Symposium on Cross-Sector Social Interactions (CSSI 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 will be “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.

Partnering and 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.


The following research questions can be considered when developing papers for submission:

  • Under what conditions can partnering processes contribute to more impactful frugal innovation processes?

  • How does partnering relate to scaling processes of frugal innovations?

  • What role does partnering play in embedding frugal innovations in different contexts (including business ecosystems)?

Submission details

The deadline for abstracts is the 31st of November (750 words excl. references). The abstracts submission will be online and will open in October. (  Please stay up to date with developments by following the conference twitter account @CSSI2020UL and also the Facebook event page. 
Deadline for full papers is May 22nd 2020 for those authors with accepted abstracts who wish to be considered for Best Paper Award, and for the JBE Special Issue (including special issue panel discussion on 24th June, 2020)


- 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), 136-157.






More information
CSSI 2020 Official Conference Website
Programme CSSI 2020