With my colleagues at the Universe Foundation, I have been working on starting up a new project which examines the elements of creating frugal solutions in more depth, and which eventually should lead to a handful of companies trying it out for real.
There are good reasons to fear that many people in Denmark - and in the West in general – will need to get by with much more limited resources in the coming years.
The economy is seriously challenged by a number of fundamental weaknesses. Unemployment is rising, the population is aging, the polarization of wealth is increasing.
Therefore, the Universe Foundation is now starting up a project to examine the potential in developing frugal solutions for the Western markets.
What are frugal solutions?
Frugal solutions use resources efficiently . They enable customers to fulfill their needs adequately, with a decent experience and at a low price. They expand a company's market by opening it to users who otherwise could not afford to use such a solution. The strategy is to drive down prices and achieve higher sales volume - rather than raising revenue per unit by adding additional features.
Frugal innovation is driven by the need to manage with limited resources, and therefore there is some acceptance among customers of compromising slightly on convenience.
Frugal solutions are services and systems rather than just stand alone products. They meet needs at a much lower price than usual, by considering the wider context of the user and the usage, and by integrating and coordinating several means (products and service) and stakeholders, including the users themselves, in creating value.
They focus on providing utility rather than selling products , and this may be best achieved by innovating in terms of systems – such as business models, creating standards and bridging components, organizing interaction or mobilizing non-commercial resources.