Frugal innovation


  • Please make yourself familiar with the literature
  • Send your CV, your transcript of records and a short motivation letter why the topic is interesting for you to


  • Above-average course achievement
  • Advanced skills in English (written and spoken)
  • Strong dedication and autonomy


“Frugal innovation is gaining traction globally, not only in emerging economies, but also in the industrialized world. The root causes of frugality’s acceptance as a societal value may however differ according to the social context, especially between the developing and the developed world” (Tiwari 2017). In emerging economies there are often large groups of unserved consumers with unfulfilled needs partly resulting from lower levels of disposable income and/or high price sensitivity (Zeschky 2011, Tiwari 2016). Those needs can be potentially addressed by frugal innovations, not just for customers in emerging markets, but also for customers in industrialized nations. The main research topics in the frugal innovation literature are the ecosystem, the innovation process, the implementation and diffusion and the orgin and definition of frugal innovation (Pisoni et al. 2018).

Possible research topics for your thesis

  • Digitalisation as a driver for frugal innovation
  • Frugal approach to innovation in SMEs and startups
  • Sustainability and frugal innovation
  • Customer Acceptance of frugal innovation

as from now (or upon request)


Pisoni, Alessia, Laura Michelini, and Gloria Martignoni. "Frugal approach to innovation: State of the art and future perspectives." Journal of Cleaner Production 171 (2018): 107-126.
Tiwari, Rajnish; Fischer, Luise; Kalogerakis, Katharina (2017) : Frugal innovation in Germany: A qualitative analysis of potential socio-economic impacts, Working Paper, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management, No. 96
Tiwari, R., Fischer, L. and Kalogerakis, K. (2016): “Frugal Innovation in Scholarly and Social Discourse: An Assessment of Trends and Potential Societal Implications”, joint working paper of Fraunhofer MOEZ Leipzig and Hamburg University of Technology in the BMBF-ITA project, Leipzig and Hamburg.
Zeschky, M., B. Widenmayer and O. Gassmann (2011). "Frugal Innovations in Emerging Markets." Research Technology Management 54(4): 38-45.