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Frugal part two

9 February 2015

The article at a glance

‘Frugal Innovation’ is now entrenched in the West. In 2012, the book Jugaad Innovation was influential in letting the world know how …

‘Frugal Innovation’ is now entrenched in the West.

Frugal innovation
In 2012, the book Jugaad Innovation was influential in letting the world know how developing countries like India were doing more with less. Now its sequel, Frugal Innovation, published on 10 February, explains how Western countries have enthusiastically embraced the same philosophy.

Like its predecessor, Frugal Innovation is co-authored by Navi Radjou, Fellow in India & Global Business at Cambridge Judge Business School, and by Jaideep Prabhu, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business & Enterprise at Cambridge Judge. The 272-page book is published by Economist Books, with a foreword written by Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

“Frugal innovation is now becoming a strategic business imperative in developed economies, where consumers demand affordable and sustainable products,” Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance, says of the new book. “No business leader in the 21st century can ignore the paradigm shift fully described in this book.”

The global market for sustainable products is estimated at $1 trillion, and businesses are seeking to save money by minimising their use of everything from capital to energy – and the concept of frugal innovation reflects these trends.

“In the West in recent times we’ve seen people face resource constraints, a bit like in emerging economies,” says Prabhu.

There are constraints on household budgets and government budgets, and so more people are looking for ways to do more with less.

But I think in the West people have also recently been empowered by new tools and movements that help them to innovate better, faster and cheaper. Some of these tools are things like 3D printing or cheap computing, the Internet and social media.

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