Frugal innovation: how it works and why it matters

Electric cars, home automation, civilian space travel: the innovations of the past few years have been aimed at improving our lives, but they consume enormous amounts of resources to do so. Frugal innovations are quite different. How? We explain in this video – and at the upcoming European Trend Day.

“We need new approaches; new standards for what constitutes an important innovation,” says Karin Frick, head of research at the GDI. The innovations of recent years have offered consumers more than they need. At the same time, however, they have further increased CO2 emissions and the consumption of non-renewable resources. Frugal innovation is quite different. “With it, you can decouple innovation from resource consumption,” says Frick.

Companies can also respond better to customer needs using frugal innovation, says GDI CEO Lukas Jezler. Consumers have long been willing to adapt their behaviour, for example, in order to stop climate change: “Frugal innovation helps companies meet a new demand for simple, robust, affordable and sustainable solutions.” Small, mobile ultrasound machines, self-sufficient power systems and sharing platforms for shop equipment are just three examples of frugal innovations that make life easier and don’t cost the world.

At the 18th European Trend Day, we are highlighting frugal innovations – a trend that is here to stay:

(please activate English subtitles)

More on the topic: