Why Europe needs Frugal Innovation
Frugal innovation aims to create “more value for more people from fewer resources”. Much of the current academic discussion on frugal innovation finds its roots in developing and emerging economies like India. However, more and more business leaders and researchers find that it is important for Europe too. Frugal innovation offers new opportunities to make the most of European technological expertise, to address European societal challenges and to better meet customer needs in home markets.
Building on the interest generated by the Affordable Tech session on Frugal Innovation at the R&I Days in September, RTD’s Innovation Ecosystems unit hosted a Library talk and workshop with colleagues from across Commission services, looking at how to ‘anchor’ Frugal Innovation into the new policy agenda for research and innovation. Prof Peter Knorringa and Prof Saradindu Bhaduri provided the Library talk named Why Europe needs Frugal Innovation and facilitated the workshop session.
Working Paper 6: Frugal Innovation in EU Research and Innovation Policy
In recent years, frugal innovation has caught the attention of European companies, citizens, policy makers, and NGOs. Professors Peter Knorringa and Saradindu Bhaduri published a Working Paper at the request of DG Research and Innovation, which offers building blocks suggesting where and how frugal innovation could be integrated into EU policy. The paper focuses on possible connections with the ‘Mission-Oriented Research & innovation’ program (Horizon Europe) that has been designed by the DG Research and Innovation.
The Working Paper builds on the EU scoping Study on frugal innovation and the reengineering of traditional techniques (2017). It introduces three key types of frugal innovation processes, driven respectively by firms, NGOs and local communities. It also shows how these three distinct processes link up with different parts of the EU policy agenda. The paper furthermore explores how a frugal innovation angle could enrich some of the main EU policy instruments and also raises the idea that a more fundamental rethinking of future innovation trajectories might be needed to effectively address global challenges.