Frugal Innovations 2018 - Opportunities & Challenges of a “frugal AGE”: How frugal innovations can help secure affordable and green excellence

© DWIH New Delhi

Event Information

December 12, 2018

Organizer(s): DWIH - German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi; FAU Erlangen Nuremberg; Hamburg University of Technology; IISc Bangalore

The world increasingly needs innovative solutions that combine qualitative excellence with both monetary and ecological affordability. Depleting natural resources and the growing consumption necessitate out-of-the-box solutions that can ensure resource efficiency while catering to the aspirations of the billions of new consumers. The spectrum of such “affordable and green excellence” may span from radically new concepts and architecture for innovative products, services and processes to disruptive technologies and digital-based business models.

Frugal innovations are increasingly becoming crucial for success in emerging economies and beyond, as ongoing research at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) shows. India is not only a highly attractive market for innovative solutions connecting high quality with affordability. Research shows that India is also a lead market for frugal solutions that are able to diffuse in other markets with socio-economic similarities. Many products succeed even in industrialized countries, where a growing demand for affordable, excellent and resource-efficient solutions can be observed (“reverse innovation”).

This seminar intends to showcase how frugal innovations go beyond mere low-cost solutions and that affordable price is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. Experts from TUHH and FAU, together with local partners from India, will present best-practice examples from German and Indian companies about implementing a successful frugal innovation strategy. The examples will also demonstrate how firms can use the potential of Indo-German collaboration for enhancing global competitiveness.

Target audience: Researchers and students interested in the topic of Frugal Innovations, Industry Representatives from German and Indian companies with existing (or with interest in creating) product design & development activities in India, others interested in the topic.


Key Speaker

Dr. Stephan Buse

Dr. Stephan Buse is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at Hamburg University of Technology and co-leads the research programs “Global Innovation ” and “Mobile Commerce “. In addition, since 2007 he has been the program-coordinator of the international Joint-Master Program “Global Innovation Management” which he also co-founded. His main research and teaching activities are in the fields of Global Innovation Management and International Business Strategy, particularly questions regarding internationalization and the international division of labour. Furthermore, he is a co-founder and member of the management team of the Centre for Frugal Innovation at TIM.

Dr. Buse is also responsible for the industry-related service portfolio of TIM. In 2007, together with other institutional players he co-initiated the series of India Weeks in Hamburg and continues to be a member of its steering committee. In honorary capacity, Dr. Buse is the deputy head of the Hamburg Section of the German-Indian Round Table (GIRT). Besides this, he is a member of the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB), the Academy of Management (AOM) as well as the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM).

Dr. Rajnish Tiwari

Dr. Rajnish Tiwari is a Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader at Institute of Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) of Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), currently pursuing his post-doctorate. At TIM, he co-leads the research program on “Global Innovation” that includes work on frugal innovations. He is one of the founding members of Centre for Frugal Innovation (CFI) and a part of its management team. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Circle of ITA, a program imitated by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

His research is centred in the confluence zone of international business and innovation management and his current research primarily focusses on affordability-driven “frugal innovations” that fulfil high quality standards (“affordable excellence”) and are responsible in its usage of resources. An alumnus of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS), Dr Tiwari has received several awards in the pursuit of his academic career, e.g. the “Market and Customer Orientation” prize by Vodafone Stiftung fuer Forschung for his study of Mobile Banking, and a post-doctorate scholarship by Hamburg-based Claussen Simon Foundation in 2014.

Dr Tiwari is also a co-initiator of the series of India Weeks in Hamburg and continues to be a member of its steering committee. In February 2010, he was invited to lead the Hamburg section of German-Indian Round Table (GIRT) and is a member of the Indo-German Society and a member of its Advisory Board.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem

Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem holds the Chair of Technology Management at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany, which is located at the Nuremberg Campus of Technology (NCT). He is a CCSR International Research Associate at DeMontfort University (UK) and a Visiting Professor at the EADA Business School in Barcelona (Spain) and HHL Graduate School of Management (Germany). Moreover, he serves as an Academic Committee Member of the Center of Technological Innovation, Tsinghua University, Beijing (China). In addition, he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in May 2017.

The research activities are focused on the management of R&D in high-tech firms. This contains research fields like idea management, constraint-based innovation, user innovation as well as technology entrepreneurship. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, as well as Associate Editor for Technological Forecasting and Social Change and for IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. More information is available at

Dr. Santosh Noronha

Dr. Santosh Noronha obtained his B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras and subsequently a PhD in Biochemical Engineering. He was then employed as a postdoctoral fellow for several years at NIH, Bethesda. He has been at IIT Bombay since 2001.

He is a biochemical engineer by training who has evolved multidisciplinary interests. He has focused on understanding various metabolic and regulatory aspects of microbial systems, towards rationally manipulating their productivity using genetic engineering techniques, for production of therapeutics. Among other activities, he has focused on reactor optimization strategies for bioprocesses, and on developing algorithms for online adaptive control. This has resulted in an open source, indigenously developed bioreactor platform. This focus on indigenous instrumentation has extended into the creation of low cost virtual laboratory rigs as well as healthcare devices. He coordinates development and deployment of Virtual Labs, an MHRD ICT project ( He is also coordinator of the Healthcare Research Consortium at IIT Bombay, which interfaces with major hospitals and research labs in the Mumbai area, and is now actively engaged in translating several collaborative research efforts into technologies. More on these is available at


Time (hrs) Programme
09:00 h – 09:30 h Registration & Networking Tea
09:30 h – 09:45 h Welcome Addresses

Representative, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore (tbc)

Dr. Manjula Mundakana, Science Officer, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bangalore

Dr. Matthias Kiesselbach, Chairperson- German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH New Delhi) & Director, German Research Foundation-India

09:45 h – 10:15 h Introduction
All participants
10:15 h – 10:45 h Frugal Innovations for Affordable, Green Excellence: A Research Perspective
Dr. Rajnish Tiwari and Dr. Stefan Buse, Centre for Frugal Innovations, Hamburg
University of Technology (TUHH), Hamburg
10:45 – 11:15 h Frugality as the new imperative for innovation – from frugal products to frugal ecosystems
Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem, Chair of Technology Management, Friedrich-Alexander
Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg
11:15 – 11:45 h Coffee Break
11:45 h – 12:15 h Frugal Innovation in Practice: Insights from an Indian Company
Ms. Vaishnavi Chandru, Signal Processing Engineer, Janitri Innovations
12:15 – 12:45 h Frugal Innovations for Social Development
Dr. Santosh Noronha, Tata Centre for Technology and Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT Bombay)
12:45 – 13:30 h Open Panel Discussion:
Future Perspectives & Research Agendas for Frugal Innovations
Discussion with speakers of the dayThank you Note
13:30 – 15:00 h Networking Lunch
End of the event


Registrations for the event are now closed.

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