Sometimes I get tired from all these new innovations. It looks like they are only there to benefit the more rich because they are often only affordable for the rich. Luckily that is not the whole story of innovations, there are also frugal innovations, they are innovations aimed at people earning less than two dollars a day. There are two different kinds of frugal innovation, one is stripping the technology to its basics and the other is redesigning demanded technology so that the people there can use them. When thinking about frugal innovations I get really excited because it gives the feeling of really developing something that can be useful to many people.
Something that caught my attention is a site that has all kinds of innovations for the basic needs, especially aimed at developing countries. There these innovations are brought together and I could see all these different ideas people introduce to achieve these basic needs with new innovations. It astonished me how many different innovations there were. Innovations to improve sanitation, clean drinking water, sustainable energy, health care, waste management, housing, ICT and agriculture. Almost all of them sustainable development goals.
It made me wonder why are there so many responsible innovations of which many people would benefit but hardly anyone knows about them. I believe the problem is that there is not enough attention for frugal innovations. Companies are scared to innovate in frugal innovations because they are afraid they will not make profit. Another problem is that they see serving these markets as taking advantage of the poor.
What I learned from the lecture about frugal innovations is that this just isn’t true and that it is indeed possible to make profit with frugal innovations. When introducing frugal innovations they do not have to take advantage but they can contribute with their innovations to economic and social development. I think more awareness is needed in companies that these people can be an interesting target group for them as well. That will create possibilities to really put these frugal innovations to use on a larger scale. There are so many easy solutions for many problems and I think companies are an important key to implementing these solutions. Look at examples as WakaWaka it is possible to introduce these frugal innovations and be a company as well. I hope more companies will follow their example and so will contribute to sustainable development in developing countries.