Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography Research Research projects
Implementation conditions for frugality in innovation processes

Implementation conditions for frugality in innovation processes

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Ingo Liefner
Team:  Julian Barnikol
Year:  2023
Funding:  Lower Saxonian Ministry for Science and Culture
Duration:  2020 - 2023
Is Finished:  yes

For a decade now, frugal innovation in research has attracted the interest of various disciplines. In general, frugal innovation is characterized by a low consumption of resources and energy in combination with low purchasing and operating costs. In the existing literature, especially emerging markets like India are mentioned as a typical place of origin of frugal products, as they have the capability to cover the needs of poor segments of population. In recent years, the development of frugal products moved into the focus of multinational companies also, which want to increase their competitiveness and develop new markets. Due to their characteristics, however, frugal innovation can not only improve the quality of life of poor segments of population but also contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth.

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Balkrishna Rao (IIT Madras, Chennai) the research project investigates, which factors favor or hinder the implementation of frugal principles in innovation processes. In particular, empirical findings on the knowledge about the application of frugality in companies, the conditions for its implementation in innovation processes, and the influence of the regional economic structure will be presented for the first time. For this purpose, a survey of companies in India and Lower Saxony, as example regions for innovation processes of companies in emerging markets and industrialized countries, will be conducted.

The insights gained enable the development of recommendations for management and politics. Furthermore, the research results can also contribute to making economic and innovation policy in industrialized and emerging countries more sustainable and future-oriented. The project is scheduled to run for three years and is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture.


  • Barnikol, J. (2024): Green and competitive: who influences the development of advanced frugal product characteristics? Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 1-14. DOI: 10.1080/09537325.2024.2319611
  • Barnikol, J.; Liefner, I. (2022): The prospects of advanced frugal innovations in different economies. Technology in Society, 71, November 2022, 102081. DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102081

Presentations to Scientific Audiences

  • Barnikol, J.: Escaping the trade-off: The potential of Advanced Frugal Innovation to promote sustainable economic development. ERSA 2023, Alicante (Spanien), 30.08.2023.
  • Barnikol, J.: Zirkuläres Design und Frugale Innovation. Veranstaltungsreihe Wege zur Circular Economy der Hessen Trade and Invest, House of Logistics and Mobility, Frankfurt am Main, 09.05.2023.
  • Barnikol, J.: Systemic Conditions for Advanced Frugal Innovation. Workshop: Frugal Engineering of Advanced Frugal Innovations, Chennai, Indien, 09.02.2023.
  • Barnikol, J.: The Prospects of Advanced Frugal Innovations in Different Economies, 6th Geograpgy of Innovation Conference, Mailand, 6.7.2022.