Does frugal innovation enable sustainable development? A systematic literature review

Eugenia Rosca*, Jack Reedy, Julia C. Bendul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations recognize and promote interand intra-dependencies between the economic, social and ecological dimensions, emphasize the inclusion of local communities in the development processes and the need for sustainable consumption and production. To achieve these goals, interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts are needed. Frugal innovation emerges as a paradigm challenging traditional innovation pathways which may have the potential to bring together different stakeholders' efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. This systematic literature review analyzes current research linking the concepts of frugal innovation and sustainable development. The aim is to highlight approaches and conditions in which frugal innovations can drive sustainable development, especially in relation to different types of private sector actors. Based on the content analysis of current studies, we formulate shortcomings of existing research and develop a research agenda with the aim to bring the two research streams closer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-157
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • frugal innovation
  • sustainability
  • inclusive development
  • Base of the Pyramid
  • sustainable development


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