The argument of the Frugal Innovator is that we need a different approach to innovation, one which addresses big social challenges rather than proliferating new versions of existing products. That is because we face unprecedented pressures and constraints – sluggish income growth in the developed world; the rise of new middle class consumers with modest incomes in the developing world; the resource constraints imposed in part by climate change.
In response frugal innovators, often mixing new and old technologies, ideas and people from the developed and the developing world, are devising new solutions which are lean (low waste), simple to adopt and adapt, clean (they reuse and recycle) and social.
The book concludes by looking at how and where frugal innovators work. It argues that frugal innovation is increasingly fed by cosmopolitan flows of people and ideas and approaches which favour innovation in the real world with real consumers.
For videos of talks on The Frugal Innovator, please see: