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Frugal Innovation: How to do more with less

Frugal Innovation: How to do more with less

by Navi Radjou

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Winner of the CMI Management Book of the Year 2016

Frugal innovation is a way that companies can create high-quality products with limited resources. Once the preserve of firms in poor markets, Western companies are now seeking ways to appeal to cost-conscious and environmentally-aware consumers at home. With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for


Winner of the CMI Management Book of the Year 2016

Frugal innovation is a way that companies can create high-quality products with limited resources. Once the preserve of firms in poor markets, Western companies are now seeking ways to appeal to cost-conscious and environmentally-aware consumers at home. With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for frugal products, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionizing business and reshaping management thinking. This book explains the principles, perspectives and techniques behind frugal innovation, enabling managers to profit from the great changes ahead. The book explains:

How to achieve mass customization, using low-cost robotics, inexpensive product design and virtual prototyping software.

How consumers and other external partners can help develop products

How to implement sustainable practices, such as the production of waste-free products

How to change the corporate culture to become more frugal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In their illuminating latest work, coauthors Radjou and Prabhu (Jugaad Innovation), both academics at Cambridge Judge Business School in India, continue to tackle the topic of innovation. Maintaining that in today’s cost-conscious, eco-friendly business environment, organizations must not only learn to “do more with less,” but also to “do better with less,” they offer six principles to companies looking for new ways to compete. This accessible yet substantive book illustrates how “frugal innovation” is practiced throughout the world, using case studies, best practices, and techniques. Examples come from well-known global companies such as Renault, Novartis, GE, and Aetna, as well as lesser-known companies. Succinct chapter summaries add to the book’s usefulness. While Radjou and Prabhu acknowledge that “implementing a frugal innovation strategy in any organization can be daunting,” this practical overview will be a helpful guide to business owners and managers interested “in setting goals and priorities that match company’s culture and needs” on the road to combining frugality and innovation. Agent: Bridget Wagner, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Winner of the CMI Management Book of the Year 2016

“An engrossing masterclass from two business school academics in how companies can develop high-quality products with limited resources.” Independent

"“The book is enlivened by fascinating case studies” Financial Times

"This book lists practical solutions for companies who want to do more innovation with less, no matter where you are in the world."—Henry Chesbrough, Faculty Director, Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and author, Open Innovation

"The authors make a compelling case for a feedback-rich economy that is restorative and regenerative rather than extractive, heading for the “upcycle”. (They) are to be congratulated for their stimulating guide to the future."—The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Frugal innovation is now becoming a strategic business imperative in developed economies, where consumers demand affordable and sustainable products. No business leader in the 21st century can ignore the paradigm shift fully described in this book.” —Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance

“Radjou and Prabhu demonstrate that frugal innovation is one of the most critical emerging models of value creation for both businesses and the customers they serve.”—Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.

“Required reading for executives who want to get to market faster and more efficiently while delivering what customers want.” —Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, GE

“The practical roadmap and numerous cases in this book find the beat of the new customer-led world order—where velocity, synergy, empathy and involvement come standard. The future will be about doing more with less, and here we see how.”—Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi

“Health care may be the global sector most urgently in need of Radjou and Prabhu's insights in this book. Innovation must be harnessed to create massive, sustainable improvements in health delivery systems without crippling economic growth. Frugal innovation sets forth a compelling roadmap for delivering better care at lower cost for more people.”—Molly Coye, MD, Chief Innovation Officer, UCLA Health

“Insightfully articulates how Western companies can evolve to capture opportunities presented by the burgeoning “do more with less” economy."—Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

Kirkus Reviews
In textbook fashion, Radjou and Prabhu (Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth, 2012) elucidate six principles of frugal innovation. In the preface, the authors define frugal innovation as "the ability to ‘do more with less'—that is, to create significantly more business and social value while minimising the use of diminishing resources such as energy, capital and time." They recognize but minimize the challenges this entails: convincing business that developing cheaper, better products that last longer is not only good citizenship, but good strategy while educating consumers to adopt a different mindset, by means including "social pressure" and making "frugality aspirational." Yet the authors insist that such changes are already well underway, that a disappearing middle class has placed a premium on value and durability and that environmental consciousness and business savvy now go hand in hand. "Consumers in the developed world are becoming not only more value conscious but more values conscious," they write, and they proceed to offer case studies of how international corporations in industries ranging from cars to health care have benefitted from adapting to this changed mindset (profiled companies include Saatchi and Saatchi, Unilever and Aetna). The authors also discuss the transformation of consumers into "prosumers," partners in the development process, and of the connectivity within the "Internet of Things." The authors accept the growing dominance of "the so-called GAFAs (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon)" as a given rather than any sort of cultural threat. There is no question that both consumer and corporate cultures are changing radically and significantly, though debate remains as to just where we are on the continuum and whether all of this change is for the good. A jargon-heavy book for professionals rather than general readers.

Product Details

Publication date:
Economist Books Series
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Navi Radjou is an innovation and leadership advisor based in Silicon Valley. A Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, he won the 2013 Thinkers50 Innovation Award and spoke at TED Global 2014. He is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review online. Previously, he served as Vice President at Forrester Research in Boston and San Francisco. Over 18 years, he has consulted for leading global firms including BP, Campbell Soup, Cisco, E&Y, Fujitsu, GM, Hitachi, IBM, Microsoft, P&G, Rolls-Royce and SAP. He co-authored the international bestsellers Jugaad Innovation and From Smart To Wise. He is a sought-after keynote speaker who is widely quoted in international media. An Indian-born French national, Navi lives in Palo Alto, California.

Jaideep Prabhu is a writer, consultant and Director of the Centre for India & Global Business at Judge Business School, Cambridge, specializing in marketing, innovation, strategy and international business. Jaideep Prabhu is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the International Journal of Research in Marketing Science and the Journal of Management Studies, and a member of the senior advisory board of the European Journal of Marketing.

He has consulted with or taught executives from ABN Amro, Bertelsmann AG, British Telecom, the UK's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), EDS, Egg, IBM, ING Bank, Laird, the NHS, Nokia, Oce Copiers, Philips, Roche, Shell, Vodafone and Xerox among other organisations in Colombia, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, UK and US. He has been interviewed by or has had his work profiled on BBC News 24, The New York Times, MIT Sloan Management Review, BusinessWeek, US News & World Report, The Financial Times, Le Monde, The Times, The Times of India, and elsewhere. He earned his PhD at the University of Southern California. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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