Type de publication:

Book Chapter


Handbook of Alternative Innovation (2021)


978 1 78990 229 7

Numéro d'appel:





BoP market, end-user, frugal innovation


Since the 2000s, the new approaches in development policies and fighting against poverty turn to private partners (companies and NGOs) for the design of specific and small-scale (even individual) products and services for developing countries contexts. The long experience of failures in North/South technological transfers (Rangan et al. 2007; London 2011), and the controversy about the risk of an indebted consumer associated to the initial Bottom Of Pyramid program (Karnani 2007), led to the emergence of design approaches targeting a better inclusion of the end-user at different stages of the design process. Frugal innovation (closed to grassroots innovation) is part of this new design paradigm, which aims at articulating high technology solutions, quality principles and best local practices. In this chapter, we investigate how the user, with his skills, is considered in the literature that promotes or criticizes frugal innovation. In line with the sociology of innovation (Oudshoorn and Pinch 2003), we propose to question this new theory of innovation from the way it qualifies its primary target and justification. How are users defined and by whom? Are they conceived as isolated individuals or as a collective? Who speaks for them? How is their integration throughout the design process thought out? Furthermore, to what extent does frugal innovation deployment succeed in impacting people's lives at the base of the pyramid?


Humanities and Social SciencesBook sections

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