Frugal Innovations: when less is more

Frugale Innovationen: wenn weniger mehr ist
Foto: © alphaspirit - Fotolia/ Fraunhofer IAO

 

“Frugal Innovation Index” quick online check assesses companies’ fitness for entry-level products

Many innovative companies still focus primarily on the premium sector. Yet attractive market opportunities for entry-level solutions abound in emerging and industrialized economies alike. With practical methodology training and a quick online check, Fraunhofer IAO is helping companies build up frugal skills and expertise.

Innovative solutions are traditionally characterized by high quality and comprehensive functionality. However, not all customers are willing and able to pay the corresponding price. Instead, there is growing demand for so-called entry-level products: simple but high-quality solutions with a limited range of functions. The appeal of these products is not restricted to the growing middle classes in emerging economies, as there is also resistance to expensive over-engineering in established markets in industrialized countries.

Frugal innovations require a rethink

Developing entry-level products that meet the needs of customers is no easy task for the research and development (R&D) departments of companies providing high-quality solutions. Entry-level products require a rethink, a move away from complexity and toward reduction, and they presuppose the ability to re-imagine products from scratch. Instead of relying on a hodgepodge of individual cost reduction measures, successful entry-level products gain an advantage by means of clever approaches. This involves designing a product that perfectly matches customers’ needs and possesses precisely the core functionalities that are essential for the targeted customer group.

The burning topicality of this issue in innovation research testifies to the complexity of the process. Over the past few years, interest in the phenomenon has intensified, and much discussion in the international research landscape has centered on the topic of “frugal innovations.” In industry, meanwhile, there has been a growing demand for practical recommendations for action and methodological support.

Frugal Innovation Index quick online check

Fraunhofer IAO has many years of expertise in the field of frugal innovations. With its newly developed Frugal Innovation Index, the institute now offers companies a way to evaluate their capabilities as a frugal innovator and receive fresh ideas and inspiration for the next steps of implementation. The quick online check is available in German and in English, free of charge. Direct feedback is generated in just 15 minutes based on 20 questions. Registration is not required.

Recipe for Successful Frugal Innovation seminar

On May 30, 2017, companies will also have the opportunity to build up frugal development expertise at the Recipe for Successful Frugal Innovation seminar being held at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart. At the seminar, the methodology training based on fully-elaborated case studies will be supplemented by practical testimonials sharing real-world experience.