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The role of frugal Innovation in the global diffusion of green technologies

: Gandenberger, Carsten; Kroll, Henning; Walz, Rainer


International Journal of Technology Management 83 (2020), No.1/2/3, pp.97–113
ISSN: 0267-5730
ISSN: 1741-5276
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
Frugal innovation; Sustainable innovation; Eco-innovation; Sustainable development; Pro-poor innovation

The paper suggests that the debate on sustainable development and sustainable innovation could profit from the concept of frugal innovation, because both concepts acknowledge the limitations of a resource-constrained world. The complex relationship between frugal innovation and sustainable innovation is explored in conceptual terms and results in criteria which denote potential overlaps between both concepts. Furthermore, the paper analyses world trade data of green technologies to demonstrate the increasing relevance of South-South and North-South trade and to derive implications for frugal innovation. Moreover, case studies of frugal and sustainable innovations are analysed in order to highlight their requirements and implications. Maybe the most important conclusion stemming from the considerations in this article is that the integration of frugal and sustainable innovation principles can breathe new life into the discussion about sustainable innovation and sustainable development in general.