Seminars & Events

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch)

Frugal Innovation, Global Value Chains and Local Economic Development

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch) is a lunchtime workshop open to public, including IDE staffs, visiting research fellows, IDEAS students, outside researchers and graduate students. This workshop provides a platform for presentation of any work in progress where we can discuss in either English or Japanese.

Those who would attend a seminar are asked to announce yourself to receptionists on your arrival at the IDE and to obtain APL Organizers' signature on your admission card after the seminar.


February 28, 2017. (Tuesday) 12:30-14:00


Frugal Innovation, Global Value Chains and Local Economic Development


Frugal Innovations aim to bring 'good enough' and 'affordable' products, services and systems within the reach of billions of poorer and emerging new middle class consumers. Examples include water purifiers or cooling systems that do not require electricity; several IT based (micro) financing applications like Mpesa and Zoona; and low-cost solar lighting systems for rural electrification. Such innovations can be undertaken by established business units in the formal economy or by individual innovators at the grassroots level, creating local economic development opportunities.

The first part of the seminar will introduce frugal innovation, its key characteristics like basic functionalities, good enough quality and affordability for resource-constrained customers. Frugal innovations often combine low and high-end technologies and require context-specific adjustments. The second part will explain why frugal innovation is becoming an important theme in global value chain analysis, as a way to improve our analysis of how value chains 'touch down' in specific localities and impact on the nexus between technology, entrepreneurship and sustainable development. The third and final part of the seminar aims to outline an agenda for future policy-relevant research on where and when frugal innovations are more likely to contribute to more sustainable global value chains as well as local development opportunities. A central argument will be around the need for co-creation and deeper interaction between the global and local value chain actors in order to be able to achieve the desired outcomes.


Professor Peter Knorringa(International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam)



Institute of Developing Economies, APL Organizers
IMAI Kohei  E-mail:kohei_imaiE-mail
TSUBURA Machiko E-mail:Machiko_TsuburaE-mail
ASUYAMA Yoko E-mail:yoko_asuyamaE-mail