Frugal innovation: Some theoretical observations from innovation-economic and social-entrepreneurial perspectives

Cees van Beers*, André Leliveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter’s aims to link frugal innovation (FI) to some theoretical notions. First, it presents a brief overview of what FI is in order to identify characteristics that can be linked to theoretical notions. Second it links the concept of FI to 1) existing theoretical notions on profit-induced innovators and how these contribute to economic development and transformation, and 2) a conceptual way of thinking based on social entrepreneurs and their motives and opportunities to overcome resource constraint by designing and developing frugal innovation. Two takeaways on furthering theoretical attempts to understand frugal innovations are presented. The first one is working out of Comprehensive Schumpeterian models where dynamic patterns of polycentric innovation networks can be examined thoroughly. The second way is working further on the role of (networks of) social entrepreneurs as frugal innovators and providing them a broader validity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Frugal Innovation
Editors André Leliveld, Saradindu Bhaduri, Peter Knorringa, Cees van Beers
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781788118873
ISBN (Print)9781788118866
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Frugal innovation
  • Schumpeterian economics
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Innovation economics
  • Polycentric innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Frugal innovation: Some theoretical observations from innovation-economic and social-entrepreneurial perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this