Author(s): Elsie K. Onsongo & Peter Knorringa
Publication date: September 2020
In Journal: Innovation and Development 2020
Title: Comparing frugality and inclusion in innovation for development: logic, process and outcome
Cite this article as: Elsie K. Onsongo & Peter Knorringa (2020) Comparing frugality and inclusion in innovation for development: logic, process and outcome, Innovation and Development, DOI: 10.1080/2157930X.2020.1811931
Keywords: value chains, innovations, Africa, agriculture, governance, regional markets
This paper sheds light on two main concepts applied to innovation for development: frugal innovation and inclusive innovation. Researchers often conflate these concepts when classifying or characterizing innovative endeavours in developing contexts. We argue, however, that these concepts are fundamentally different based on their philosophical orientations or logics, i.e. frugality versus social inclusion, their respective innovation processes and outcomes. Based on an in-depth literature review, we develop a typology that outlines these differences. We show that an inclusive innovation lens accentuates the participation of marginalized actors and poverty reduction, while a frugal innovation lens highlights product design processes, business model innovation and resource use. Conceptual clarity on these differences has implications for how we characterize innovation in developing contexts in the academic, practitioner and policy spheres.