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Exploratory Study of the Integration of Frugal Innovation in the Design of Products for the BoP

  • Luis Miguel López Santiago (a1), Serge Rohmer (a1), René Díaz Pichardo (a1) (a2) and Tatiana Reyes (a1)


The bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consists of 1.4 billion people living less than 1.25 USD per day. Fulfilling unmet needs of BoP people involves the design of products as a main activity. Designing products for the BoP faces two main problems. First, there is a general lack of understanding of the needs of users and second, traditional design methods may be limited in addressing the BoP context. Frugal innovation is positioned as a very interesting approach with the potential to adequately respond to the design challenges of the products for the BoP. However, studies in engineering design based on frugal innovation are still limited. In response to these issues, through an analysis and review of the literature, an exploratory mapping of the proposals in frugal innovation and the characteristics of the BoP was conducted. On the basis of the results, this paper defines a set of eight frugal criteria design and an identification of three dimensions that characterize a BoP context and two roles of BoP people. Finally, an association of BoP dimensions and roles with the key criteria of frugal design is proposed.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Contact: López Santiago, Luis Miguel, University of Technology of Troyes, France HETIC – CREIDD, France


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Exploratory Study of the Integration of Frugal Innovation in the Design of Products for the BoP

  • Luis Miguel López Santiago (a1), Serge Rohmer (a1), René Díaz Pichardo (a1) (a2) and Tatiana Reyes (a1)


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