Be-Bound at PARC Frugal Innovation

At PARC This September: A Panel on Frugal Innovation

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This September, Navi Radjou moderated a Talk on Frugal Innovation at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). 

On September 3d, Be-Bound® shared the stage with Mark Hatch, the CEO of Tech Shop, Bruce Borden the CEO of gThrive, and Silvia Figueira the Director of Santa Clara University’s Frugal Innovation Lab. In the city and center of the latest greatest gadgets, a discussion about how having limitations and working with what’s already in place can sometimes lead us to imagine the most innovative solutions. All three speakers shared their experiences of maximizing value while minimizing resources.

Frugal innovation fulfills needs by creating new methods out of what is already existing or readily available. Navi Radjou posits that we are experiencing the rise of a frugal economy, a trend powered both by a sharing economy and an atmosphere of people discovering how to  create for themselves. TechShop , is an example of this: a do-it-youself space where everyday citizens are becoming makers of their own electronic products. Spaces like TechShop create powerful potential with atmospheres where new inventions and discoveries can be made for how to do more with less.

gThrive is essentially a garden stake that measures soil information and sends findings directly to smartphones so that farmers (or gardeners) can easily control irrigation and maintenance. This is an inexpensive solution for conserving water, energy, and reducing unnecessary environmental impact. This is an example of technology providing a simple solution for a large population, using inexpensive materials that are already at our disposal. 

Santa Clara University has established The Frugal Innovation Lab which focuses on solving the world’s most critical problems through a “frugal mindset”. Their mission (as stated on their site) is “to design ‘accessible, affordable, and appropriate’ products and technologies for people living in underserved communities across the globe.”

As for Be-Bound®, we spoke about how we are using frugal innovation in the race to bring the next 4 billion people online.  With Be-Bound’s frugal innovation, more people can have mobile Internet. Rather than going for huge infrastructure investments, frugal innovation seeks solutions that are easily implementable. With mobile Internet this means rethinking the way existing resources such as mobile networks and apps can be used to bring mobile Internet services to everyone. 

Frugal innovation is of course applicable to every sector, and these examples provide just a general introduction. Did you attend the event? What did you think?

If you couldn’t make it to the event but would like to learn more,  Navi Radjou has co-authored the book, Jugaad Innovation.  You can also see our other blog post “What is Frugal Innovation?” for further explanation.


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