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Table 1 Distinguishing characteristics of frugal innovations

From: What is frugal innovation? Three defining criteria

  Article, authors Distinguishing characteristics Distinguishing between frugal innovation and other innovation types
Concepts and frameworks to classify frugal innovation Cunha et al. (2014) Field of scarcity • Frugal innovation: affluent customers are scarce.
• Bricolage: material resources are scarce.
• Improvisation: time is scarce.
Brem and Wolfram (2014) Sophistication, sustainability, and emerging market orientation • Frugal innovation has low to medium sophistication, medium sustainability, and medium emerging market orientation.
Zeschky et al. (2014) Technical novelty and market novelty
Criteria: same for less, tailored for less, and new for less
• Frugal innovation has higher technical and higher market novelty than good-enough innovation and cost innovation.
• Frugal innovation = new for less, cost innovation = same for less, and good-enough innovation = tailored for less.
Ostraszewska and Tylec (2015) Criteria: same for less, adapted for less, and new for less • The GE LOGIQ Book Ultrasound Machine is an example of frugal innovation (new for less); the Tata Nano (often used as a typical example for frugal innovation) is considered an example of Gandhian innovation (adapted for less).
Soni and Krishnan (2014) Introducing three frugal innovation types • Frugal innovation can be interpreted as a mindset or a way of life, as a process, and as an outcome in the form of products or services.
Basu et al. (2013) Introducing characteristics of frugal innovation and conventional innovation • Frugal innovation
 - Driver: what do they need
 - Process: bottom-up
 - Core capabilities: functionality (rugged, lightweight, adaptable, simple)
 - Location: developing markets, emerging markets.
• Conventional innovation
 - Driver: what would be nice to have
 - Process: top-down
 - Core capabilities: desirability and design
 - Location: developed markets.
Rules and principles of frugal innovation Kumar and Puranam (2012) Identifying six underlying principles of frugal innovation • Principles: robustness, portability, de-featuring, leapfrog technology, mega-scale production, and service ecosystems.
Radjou and Prabhu (2014) Identifying six underlying principles of frugal innovation • Principles: engage and iterate, flex your assets, create sustainable solutions, shape customer behaviour, co-create value with prosumers, and make innovative friends.
Prahalad and Mashelkar (2010) Introducing three Gandhian innovation types (in our context, interpreted as frugal innovation)
Introducing rules for Gandhian innovation
• The three Gandhian innovation types are as follows: disrupting business models, modifying organisational capabilities, and creating or sourcing new capabilities.
• The five rules for Gandhian innovation are as follows:
 1. Develop a deep commitment to serving the unserved.
 2. Articulate and embrace a clear vision.
 3. Set very ambitious goals to foster an entrepreneurial spirit.
 4. Accept that constraints will always exist and creatively operate within them.
 5. Focus on people, not just shareholder wealth and profits.