‘Gaining more for less’ has always been a developing nation’s mantra. Now western economies too have started following suit as the demand for affordable and sustainable products rise steadily, says excerpts from the newly published book, ‘Frugal Innovation.’
Just like its predecessor – Jugaad Innovation – Frugal Innovation is co-authored by Navi Radjou, a Fellow in India & Global Business at Cambridge Judge Business School, and by Jaideep Prabhu, a 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.
“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,” 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 minimizing their use of everything from capital to energy – and the concept of frugal innovation reflects these trends.
GE’s CMO Beth Comstock considers frugal innovation as a means for distilling 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,” Comstock asserted.
In today’s scenario, businesses the world over need to innovate in an increasingly resource-constrained environment. Frugality could be the key here, intones the authors.
“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,” added Prabhu.
“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,” asserted Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company.
Praise for the book’s take on sustainability and cost-effective innovation has also come from Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc. “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.”
Image credits: Cambridge Network