Skip to main content

Table 3 Categorisation of characterisations and attributes of frugal innovation

From: What is frugal innovation? Three defining criteria

Article Quotationa Attribute categories
Functional and focussed on essentials Considerably lower initial cost or purchase price Reducing the total cost of ownership Minimising the use of material and financial resources User-friendly and easy to use Robust High value and quality Scalable and sales of large numbers Sustainable
Agarwal and Brem (2012) “good-enough”, “affordable” (p. 2), “Frugal products with heavy resource constraints have extreme cost advantages compared to existing solutions and are much simpler and cheaper with limited features” (p. 2)        
Ahuja (2014) “cost that will make the solution accessible to as many individuals as possible” (p. 54), “high-value, low-cost, and scalable products” (p. 55), “more efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly” (p. 55)       
Andel (2013) “keep it simple” (p. 4), “cut corners, taking exception to some of the requirements” (p. 4)         
Barclay (2014) “reducing the complexity and cost” (p. 165), “reducing the complexity and cost of a good or service” (p. 172), “good-enough”, “affordable products” (p. 172), “lean or cost-effective” (p. 172), “seek to minimize the use of extensive resources in the complete value chain with the intent of reducing the cost of ownership while fulfilling or even exceeding certain pre-defined criteria of acceptable quality standards” (p. 173)      
Bills et al. (2014) “low-cost” (p. 3022)          
Brem and Wolfram (2014) “do not have sophisticated technological features”, “low cost”, “comparably high value”, “simple and ecological products, processes, services, and business models”, “low input of resources”, “low cost”, “little environmental intervention”, “low carbon footprint”, “core benefits”, “eliminating unessential functions”, “maintain quality”, “maximize value”, “minimize inessential costs” (p. 5)      
Craig (2012) “product that can be afforded by those at the bottom of the bottom of the economic pyramid”, “reliable” (p. 36)          
Dandonoli (2013) “ultra-low cost, durable, easy to use, draw sparingly on raw materials and minimize environmental impact”, “significantly lower costs” (p. 2)       
Fukuda and Watanabe (2011) “accessibility, accountability and affordability” (p. 92)          
Gupta and Wang (2010) “sturdy”, “stable”          
Howard (2011) “low-cost”, “low carbon footprint” (p. 53)         
Jha and Krishnan (2013) “low-priced, value products that can drive profits through volumes”, “affordable, value products that meet the needs of resource-constrained customers” (p. 250)         
Kahle et al. (2013) “low-cost”, “offer high value”, “fulfil the requirements of awareness, access, affordability, and availability” (p. 221)        
Kumar (2008) “value for money” (p. 251)          
Kumar and Puranam (2012) “robustness”, “portability”, “defeaturing”, “leapfrog technology”, “megascale production”, “service ecosystem”     
Leavy (2014) “Affordability and sustainability” (p. 36)         
Lim et al. (2013) “resource-saving product for low income consumers” (p. 393)          
Mandal (2014) “low-cost solutions using homegrown or self-created technologies, often born out of dire need” (p. 11)          
Mukerjee (2012) “tailor made”, “right value proposition”, “affordability becomes the key issue”        
Nocera (2012) “light and highly manufacturable as well as robust and low maintenance” (p. 47)          
Ojha (2014) “high-end low-cost technology products for markets such as India, which are demanding in terms of features of the products and/or services offered but are also demanding in terms of the price” (p. 8)          
Pawlowski (2013) “Frugal innovation is about creating highly scalable products which have reduced functionalities while reducing costs” (p. 527)        
Prabhu and Gupta (2014) “Frugal innovations in products are vital in developing countries to reach price sensitive customers that seek robust products at low prices” (p. 3309)          
Radjou and Prabhu (2013) “ability to generate considerably more business and social value while significantly reducing the use of scarce resources” (p. 1)          
Rao (2014) “low-budget” (p. 44), “economic usage of resources”, “avoiding obesity” (p. 45)          
Sehgal et al. (2011) “Cost discipline is an intrinsic part of the process but, rather than simply cutting existing costs, frugal engineering seeks to avoid needless costs in the first place” (p. 33), “maximising value to the customer while minimising non-essential costs” (p. 35), “The ultimate goal of frugal engineering is basic: to provide the essential functions people need” (p. 35)        
Sharma and Iyer (2012) “frugal engineering that reduces material use (thereby reducing burden on supply chain) and meets green marketing objectives at much lower, and therefore, more affordable prices” (p. 599)         
Soni and Krishnan (2014) “meeting the desired objective with a good-enough, economical means” (p. 31)         
The Economist (2012) “unnecessary frills stripped out”         
The Economist (2010) “trying to reduce the cost of something in order to make it affordable”          
Tiwari and Herstatt (2012) “seek to minimize the use of material and financial resources in the complete value chain (development, manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal) with the objective of reducing the cost of ownership while fulfilling or even exceeding certain pre-defined criteria of acceptable quality standards” (p. 98)         
Wooldridge (2010) “Instead of adding ever more bells and whistles, they strip the products down to their bare essentials”, “Frugal products need to be tough and easy to use” (p. 3)        
Zeschky et al. (2011) “We have adopted the term frugal innovation, defined as responding to severe resource constraints with products having extreme cost advantages compared to existing solutions” (p. 39)          
Zeschky et al. (2014) “new functionality at a lower cost” (p. 23), “entirely new applications at much lower price points than existing solutions” (p. 23)        
  1. aThis column lists the attributes and characterisations of frugal innovation used in literature. If articles adopted them from other articles, we do not refer to the original source