VA Researches Mapping and Scoping of Frugal and Reverse Innovation

27 March 2024/Study

Frugal and reverse innovation is a quite new phenomenon capable of opening new avenues for the European innovation system. Originating as ‘non-standard’ innovation crafted for or in less developed countries, frugal and reverse innovation has recently grown in scope and policy significance with more and more businesses and NGOs engaging in it.

Our team is happy to share that Visionary Analytics has been chosen to work on “Study for Mapping and Scoping of Frugal and Reverse Innovation” along with our partners 4Front for the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).

For this project, we see frugal innovation as products in the wider sense that appeal through their simplicity compared to more complex solutions but (1) with sufficiently similar context-specific utility and robustness, (2) significant gains in affordability, (3) reduction in the use of resources in manufacture and application, (4) lowered the cost of ownership and use, and (5) greater ecological compatibility. In a similar vein, reverse innovation is a type of innovation that is either developed by a low-innovator country in Europe or targeted at low-innovator countries in Europe, and that has demonstrated marketability and scalability in other high-innovator markets in Europe.

To view in a more practical context, a thirteen-thousand-euro Dacia car is a good example of both types. It is affordable, robust, as well as functional and packed with innovation to achieve this. Furthermore, while originally designed for less developed markets, it has consequently spread all over Europe. Another example is fintech services. Initially designed as cheaper and simpler alternatives to banks to serve the needs of immigrants, they are now spread all over the Globe.

The general objective of the study is to produce an overview of frugal and reverse innovation within the Horizon Europe ecosystem, to assess the extent to which frugal and reverse innovation is currently supported or implemented in the European Union and Horizon Europe Associated Countries, to support the development of a common language for important concepts, and to provide practical recommendations on future policy developments.

Stay tuned for our updates on the research!

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