Why should talented people invest their time in potential innovations that solve problems that are not life changing?
When talking about profitability, creating new devices come up as the perfect match. Let’s consider the case of a lemon Juice maker (fig 1) that can cost approximately 150 USD. Why do we need people thinking about that improvements when making lemon juice can be done by a regular citrus juicer that cost 1 USD?
The frugal innovation invites us to rethink where are we orienting our time to innovate and to plan the creation of new technology. Actually, it invites us to not only think of new technology but also to imagine how to give new uses to technology that already exist.
Consider the case of electricity in India. More or less, 300 million people in India have no access to electricity. Frugal Innovation would address this situation by addressing one specific problem and bringing a new technological solution, at an affordable price, to solve the problems that are life-changing, and not only for problems make our life more expensive and senseless. One example is a refrigerator. How do you refrigerate your food and drinks if you have no electricity. In India, a very smart guy thought about it and came up with a refrigerator that does not use electricity but water. He used the natural evaporation process when passing the water through clay bricks. So he made a refrigerator base only in clay bricks. The outcome is a refrigerator (figure 3), without electricity able to provide 5 days of cold environment for fruits, vegetables, and milk. The cost is below the 30 USD, compared to the 500 USD price of a regular refrigerator in the market.
Steps for frugal Innovation:
1.- Look for problems that matter.
2.- Invest your time in thinking out of the box and not necessarily to increase the profitability of the companies.
3.- Invest your time in planning your operation, no matter if you have a great idea, if you do not plan how you will proceed, it is not gonna work!
By Gabriel Guggisberg (gg2642), week 4