Investigating the Capacities and Applications of the Frugal Innovation Approach in the COVID-19 Crisis and Its Implications for the Post-COVID-19 Era

Document Type : Review article


1 Ph.D. Student in management of technology, Department of Progress Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology

2 Associate Professor, Department of Progress Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology


In recent years, a new stream of innovation studies has emerged due to the disparities generated by economic development that focus on developing innovative products for the constrained market. This stream of studies comes in some way under the subject of Inclusive Innovation and various headings such as "BOP Innovation" or "Resource-Constrained Innovation." The "Frugal Innovation" model has the most significant volume of studies among the different innovation models under the above subject. Focusing on specific customer needs and the product's core functionality and eliminating unnecessary product features, we seek to use innovative methods with the least resources (materials, energy, human resources, financial resources, etc.) to design and manufacture goods with acceptable performance and in line with the needs of our markets. Because of healthcare's specific characteristics, most frugal innovation case studies in the literature related to this area. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the frugal innovation approach has been seen in many countries as a problem-solving and crisis-management capability. This is due to the need to provide fast, inexpensive, and scalable solutions that can be learned. Based on the documentary study method, while exploring the theoretical foundations of the frugal innovation approach in the Iran innovation studies for the first time, this article aims to examine the capacities of this approach to tackle the epidemic crisis and to provide evidence of successful product samples from different countries, and then to draw lessons learned from these studies Based on the lessons learned from the Corona era, this paper introduces frugal innovation approach as a new perspective for Iranian entrepreneurs and businesses in the post-Corona era, during which limited resources firms develop innovative products for customers in emerging markets.


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