How does frugal innovation emerge and lead to sustainability in developing countries? A case study in Malian agricultural areas

We analyze a case of frugal innovation. We look at the innovation process that led to the creation of a motorized seeder in Mali to face the climate change, and we explore its antecedents, enablers and consequences. Thanks to an in-depth qualitative case study and literature review, we analyze our case with the purpose of better understanding the process itself and the elements that play a key role. After having discussed what frugal innovation is and how it relates to sustainability, we develop several contributions. Firstly, we open the black box of sustainable frugal innovation process. Secondly, the paper shows particularly how antecedents such as resources scarcity, institutional voids, and social problems, are considered in the whole innovation process. A third contribution is to put into evidence the importance of bricolage, frugality and eco-friendly practices, as well as the key role of collaboration, as crucial enablers and as key mechanisms in the innovation process. Finally, our analysis of the main impacts of sustainable frugal innovation in the context of our case allows to advance the debate of innovation for sustainability (economically, socially and environmentally), in addition its impacts in terms of reinforcement of market institutions, continued collaboration and customers consumption behavior (e.g. co-consumption). We conclude our contribution by proposing a model taking into account the different elements identified through our study.

Issue Date:
Sep 01 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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 Record created 2018-09-02, last modified 2020-10-28

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