Frugal Innovation: Sometimes Less is More

Many innovative companies still focus primarily on the high-end premium part of the market, yet attractive market opportunities for entry-level solutions abound in both emerging and industrialised economies. The Fraunhofer IAO has recognised this and has developed a practical methodology and a quick online check to help companies build up frugal skills and expertise.

Frequently, although not always, innovative solutions are characterised by high quality and comprehensive functionality, but not all customers are willing or 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 functionality. However, the appeal of these products is not restricted to the growing middle classes in emerging economies with a growing resistance to expensive over-engineering becoming evident in established markets in industrialised countries.

Rethinking Innovations

Developing entry-level products that meet the needs of customers is no easy task for 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 scatter-gun approach of individual cost reduction measures, successful entry-level products gain an advantage by means of clever approaches, or products that target core functionalities for the targeted customer group.

Frugal Innovation Index

Fraunhofer IAO has been a leader in the field of frugal innovations for many years. 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 (available in German and in English) is available, here.

Seminar: Successful Frugal Innovation

The Fraunhofer IAO will also be running a seminar on frugal innovations. On May 30, 2017, companies will also have the opportunity to build up frugal development expertise at the Recipe for Successful Frugal Innovation seminar in Stuttgart. The seminar will feature methodology training based on fully-elaborated case studies that will be supplemented by practical testimonials and the sharing of real-world experiences.

More information about the seminar can be found, here (in German)

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Fraunhofer IAO.

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