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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

The Resources and Capabilities for Frugal Innovation: An Exploratory Study

Published: May 27, 2020


Sergej von Janda, University of Mannheim; Marieke Hertel, University of Mannheim; Sören Gress, Technical University of Munich


Frugal Innovation; Emerging Markets; Resource-Based View


Companies increasingly acknowledge the importance of developing affordable and good-enough products and services, also called frugal innovations, for resource constrained con-sumers. However, many frugal innovation initiatives fail due to a lack of guidance on how to identify and deploy relevant resources for the development of these innovations. Our study explores the resources and capabilities needed for frugal innovation from a company per-spective. We conduct semi-structured expert interviews with managers experienced in frugal innovation across a wide range of industries. Our grounded theory approach allows for a sys-tematic analysis and synthesis of the rich information we gather into a meaningful and man-ageable framework. The framework we develop depicts relevant resources, dynamic and op-erational capabilities, environmental factors, and interactions between the different ele-ments relevant to frugal innovation from a firm perspective.