Frugal innovation @ NUS

Last week, we chatted with Prof. Wong Poh Kam (*), Director of the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre (NEC), on business models, social business and … “frugal innovation”. I also had a first e-mail exchange with Prof. Hang Chnag Chieh, Head of the Division of Engineering &Technology Management NUS, whose the current research interests include disruptive innovation management in emerging countries.

This year, NUS launched the “Frugal Innovation Lab” (web), headed by Visiting Professor Luda Kopeikina (web), on the basis of the Lean Launch Pad project by Steve Blank, built on the Business Model/Customer Development stack.

Two recent book are dedicated to frugal innovation and reverse innovation. The first one presents and illustrates the concept of Jugaad innovation. Jugaad is a Hindi word that translates as ’overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources’. Radjou, N., Prabhu, J., Ahuja, S. (2012) Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth. Wiley

The second “presents the blueprint for scaling growth in emerging markets, and importing low-cost and high impact innovations to mature ones”. Govindarajan, V., Trimble, C. (2012) Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere. Harvard Business Review Press.

An related reading, the interview with Paul Polak (founder and CEO of Windhorse International) by James Euchner, about innovation for those living on $2 a day (web), in Research Technology Management, 55(1), January-February 2012

(*) in the Straits Times this week-end, August 25 (“THE STARS: Professor Wong Poh Kam”):

“Prof Wong Poh Kam is a key player in the start-up landscape in Singapore. In 1992, he created and taught the first postgraduate programme in technology management. As an angel investor, he has seeded many tech start-ups here and in India, China, Malaysia and in California …”

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