With Emmanuel Macron as president and his party winning a decisive majority in recent parliamentary elections, France’s ailing economy may finally receive a shot in the arm. Investors hope Macron can deliver on his promises to relax stringent labour laws and curb public spending. But the sad fact is even these ideas are not nearly radical enough to help France compete globally and win, in particular, in today’s digital economy.
Frugal Innovation: How to Do More With Less
UK launch of Frugal Innovation
reviewed by The Economist and FT
How To Do More With Less
HOW FRUGAL INNOVATION IS REVIVING THE US ECONOMY
Navi Radjou moderated a panel at the Commonwealth Club
"In Frugal Innovation, Radjou and Prabhu show how the lessons from developing countries are starting to make a real impact on the innovation processes of established companies in the West. This book nicely describes these transformations, some of the difficulties encountered, and lists practical solutions for companies who want to do more innovation with less, no matter where you are in the world."
Long practised in developing nations out of sheer necessity, frugal innovation is now becoming a strategic business imperative in developed economies, where consumers demand affordable and sustainable products. The flow of industrial knowledge has thus become a two-way street, where the North and South, East and West learn from and exchange with each other. No business leader in the 21st century can ignore the paradigm shift fully described in this book.
The certainties of rising consumption in the 20th Century are gone. Austerity, aspiration, personalisation and planetary limits all demand that we take a new approach to business. But what should it be? Radjou and Prabhu paint a vivid picture of how business can blend values and quality to deliver the personal and social balance that 21st Century consumers want.
“Frugal Innovation distils years of thinking and experimentation into an effective innovation how-to guide for companies large and small. It should be required reading for executives who want to get to market faster and more efficiently while delivering what customers want.”
“Frugal Innovation” is a tour d’horizon of a changing economy. The authors make a compelling case for a feedback-rich economy that is restorative and regenerative rather than extractive, heading for the ‘upcycle’. There is real economic and business advantage to be had through a system change approach, and the authors are to be congratulated for their stimulating guide to the future.
"At the Thinkers50 we have been following the development of the ideas of Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu for some time. They are exciting because they challenge many fundamental assumptions about how and why companies innovate; and they are important because frugal innovation is an idea of and for our times. This book will accelerate the re- invention of how we understand and practice innovation."
Frugal Innovation is a must-read for corporate leaders around the world facing pressure to create high-quality products using limited resources. Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu convincingly show that it is possible for companies to "do better with less".
"Frugal innovation offers a compelling path forward for small and large companies striving to cost-effectively develop products and services of high quality that deliver real value to customers."
"Frugal innovation is a critical business strategy for companies to prosper in a world where customers are both value-conscious and values-oriented. It challenges Western companies to create high quality products that are affordable and sustainable as well as desirable and meaningful for end-users."
“Businesses have to innovate in an increasingly resource-constrained environment. Addressing clients’ pain points and dreams in a frugal way requires a focus on simplicity and agility. This book gives many suggestions on how to do this well."
Jugaad Innovation challenged the top-down Western approach to innovation by offering an agile, bottom-up model. Frugal Innovation moves this further and faster forward. The practical roadmap and numerous cases in this book find the beat of the new customer-led world order -- where velocity, synergy, empathy and involvement come standard. The future will be about doing more with less, and here we see how.
"Radjou and Prabhu show the benefits of viewing resource limitations, actually, as an opportunity. In our increasingly resource constrained world, consumers are demanding affordable, high-quality products that are more environmentally and socially inclusive -- and numerous innovators are already obliging them. Frugal Innovation insightfully articulates how Western companies can evolve to capture opportunities presented by the burgeoning 'do more with less' economy."
"Frugal Innovation is an idea whose time has come. Downward pressures on cost and the need to use resources sustainably demand this new approach to innovation. In this seminal book, Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu explain clearly how frugal innovation works and illustrate their case with a host of practical examples from companies around the world. They have captured the wave of the future."
"Through the comprehensive set of case studies they offer in their new book, Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu demonstrate that frugal innovation is one of the most critical emerging models of value creation for both businesses and the customers they serve. In a hyper-competitive, resource-constrained world, the companies that will succeed are those that can develop and market new solutions that are resource-light and cost-effective without sacrificing quality. Frugal Innovation provides an essential blueprint for how to approach this business imperative the right way."
“Frugal Innovation offers valuable insights for business leaders everywhere who are facing a familiar challenge: How to do more with less and generate sustainable value for customers, shareholders and society. To stay relevant in an increasingly digital world, organizations must embrace a frugal approach to innovation in order to increase productivity and agility, create competitive advantage and ultimately fuel growth.”
"In a world of budget cuts where we all strive to do 'more for less' Radjou and Prabhu provide real practical examples of how we can all learn the lessons of frugal innovation. They successfully draw out the wider social and environmental benefits of 'frugal innovation' and the concept of 'prosumers' in a way that is both engaging and practical. A great read."
"Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu offer a clarion call for leaders in mature organizations to rethink and reinvent their fundamental approach to innovation by drawing upon the smarts of their people rather than the riches of their organizations. Frugal Innovation shows how established companies can stay relevant by learning to think and act like challengers again."
"Healthcare may be the global sector most urgently in need of Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu's insights on Frugal Innovation. Aging populations and surging demand for affordable services confront healthcare leaders everywhere with a stark reality: innovation must be harnessed to create massive, sustainable improvements in health delivery systems without crippling economic growth. Frugal Innovation sets forth a compelling roadmap for delivering better care at lower cost for more people."
“With the cost of R&D increasing year on year, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to keep a focus on ensuring positive returns from investment in R&D and innovation. To be successful requires R&D to be organised differently, in ways that simultaneously improve both effectiveness and efficiency – an approach we at GSK are taking. Frugal Innovation is a timely book that provides insightful and practical guidance to firms trying to do more with less.”
“An excellent and bang up-to-date primer on how to do innovation cheaply, quickly, flexibly and with close attention to users and customers – approaches which are, perhaps surprisingly, diametrically opposite to the ways in which so much innovation is organised today.”
“Frugal Innovation holds important insights for companies across sectors wishing to do more with less. The book is of great relevance to the financial services industry and banks like Barclays that are working with new technologies and start-ups to help customers manage their finances better.”
“Frugal Innovation” proposes a breakthrough approach to solving some of the most complex issues of our global economy as it empowers human beings to use their creativity to generate economic and social value while preserving the environment. A must read for thought leaders and practitioners worldwide."
I've spent my career studying innovation. What has struck me over the years is how differently large Western corporations and innovators in emerging markets like India, where I grew up, approach it.
“Jugaad” is the Hindi word for finding low-cost solutions in an intelligent way, and “jugaad innovation” is a term to describe three common traits of Indian entrepreneurs. First, Indian entrepreneurs are very frugal in their approach, very good at doing more with the limited resources they have. Second, their mindset is very flexible. There is a lot of improvisation and lateral—creative, nonlinear—thinking. And third, their solutions seem designed to bring people who are outside the formal economy into the formal economy, so these solutions are very inclusive.
Inequality is the defining social, political and economic phenomenon of our time. Just 1% of the world’s population now holds over 35% of all private wealth, more than the bottom 95% combined. Bad as this may seem, trends suggest that the situation will only get worse. Addressing it will involve multiple strategies working together, but one which is less well understood is how simple, affordable solutions to people’s problems can make a genuine difference from the bottom up.