The Frugal Innovator: Creating Change on a Shoestring Budget
Frugal innovation is a distinctive, powerful new model for a world struggling with overpopulation, exploding demand among consumers on modest incomes and global pressure to minimise environmental damage. This new wave of innovation started in the developing world and is based on the principles of 'simplify, reuse, share and distribute' and will be markedly different from previous long waves of change.
This insightful book looks at the phenomenon of low-cost innovation and explores what we can learn from the entrepreneurs and innovators in developing nations who are making amazing technical and social advances with scarce capital and resources. By unpicking the principles, drivers and methods for frugal innovation, the author shows how these can be applied and used wherever you are and whatever your capital.
competition between companies seeking to differentiate themselves, getting ahead by creating new products, opening up new markets, deploying new technologies. The context for innovation is provided by other companies and the need to compete with them. This narrow perspective, focused on innovation as a facet of competition within industries and among companies, will still be vital but not enough in future. We also need to see innovation in a much wider context of, and as a response to, the more
compatible with other living systems: they do not take resources from nature and then dump waste back into it. Instead natural systems have a circular, closed logic to them: they use energy and materials sparingly and turn waste from one process into fuel for another.60 Despite what we would regard as impossible limits, natural systems manage to make complex things at very low temperatures, without using harsh chemicals or artificial high pressure. Compared with nature even our most sophisticated
was glamorous or aspirational. First McLean did what most frugal innovators do: he borrowed – ideas and people; he rethought his way to a solution. He recruited Keith Tantlinger who had made the first modern 30ft aluminium containers that were stacked two high on barges operating between Seattle and Alaska. Tantlinger mocked-up the first containers in McLean’s trucking yard. Then they found two huge disused cranes in a shipyard in Pennsylvania, cut them off at the legs and installed one in Newark
systems in the mid-market. Those systems created for the developing world add to its offering in the developed world for mid-range cars, presented to squeezed middle-class consumers. Th in e m th nov ost te e a atio im ne chn ppli n w por ed olo ca ta i s gi tion ll be nt es to of all m kn abo ee ow u th n t ug e More developed world organisations will have to attempt this trick, so it is worth dwelling on some of what Harman did to pull it off. It set a binding constraint and a stretching goal
real product, in the UK, for just under £40. That is how much time it took for an idea to become a product, take root in a developing world market and then flow back into the developed world’s markets from whence it came. Frugal innovation is fed by cosmopolitan networks that channel ideas between the developed and developing world. What we are witnessing now with the mobile phone, the Raspberry Pi and the low-cost Aakash we might expect to happen to 3D printing and in time a version of Drexler’s