Every three years EADI (the European Association for Development Research and Training Institutes) organizes a conference somewhere in Europe where professionals, experts and academics come together to discuss international development, development studies and all related topics. This year, this conference was organized in cooperation with NFU (Norwegian Association of Development Research), the University of Bergen (UiB) and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI). The beautiful city of Bergen, Norway, was chosen as the location and CFIA attended the conference together with one of our founding institutes: the ISS (International Institute of Social Studies).
On Monday 21 August, the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA) was represented at EADI Bergen through several ISS postdoctoral and PhD researchers. Chaired by prof. Peter Knorringa, CFIA organized a session titled ‘Globalization of the Future: How can Frugal Innovation foster Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability?’. Elsie Onsongo (postdoc at ISS) and Johan Spamer (PhD candidate at ISS) presented on different case studies, providing insight into frugal business models in health care and the Blue Economy. While Johan Spamer is testing theories and classifications of business models within the Blue Economy, Elsie Onsongo explores how frugal and inclusive business models in base of pyramid markets interact with the institutional elements in these contexts. Do they adapt to local circumstances or change the context they are working in?
Rachel Howell, who is doing her PhD at TU Delft and CFIA, presented on frugal solutions in drinking water supply. Her research is focused on two water supply companies working in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. These companies aim to address the needs of those with the lowest incomes and try to achieve these aims in different ways. Do their different strategies have different effects on their consumer group? Are they really reaching low income consumers or are they actually addressing the 'new middle class'?
Peter Knorringa closed with picturing an ideal ‘future-proof’ innovation. While this concept is still under construction, such an ideal type may help us understand which dimensions of innovation processes are essential when it comes to innovation in a globalized world. All presentations led to an interesting discussion, providing new insights into frugal innovation. CFIA will use these inputs to further our knowledge of frugal innovation and its relation to development. We have several interesting articles and research projects coming up related to this topic. Keep following us via our website, newsletter or Facebook page!