Skip to content

Frugal innovation and legitimacy

Greetje Schouten, Peter Knorringa
Publication year

While legitimacy related to frugal innovation has not yet received much attention, in this chapter we argue that the concept is of key importance to this field. We identify three legitimacy challenges for frugal innovation: the possibly exploitative tendencies associated with the dominant role of MNCs in local informal communities; how frugal innovations are often seen as a stopgap instead of a structural solution; and the perception that frugal innovations are only second-rate substitutes.

To explore these challenges, this chapter introduces three conceptual approaches towards legitimacy, originating from different disciplines, that offer ways to operationalize how legitimization processes may impact frugal innovations. It is shown how the different types of actors involved in frugal innovation processes may respond to the identified challenges. In the conclusion, the authors outline the foundations of a research agenda on legitimacy challenges related to frugal innovations.

Handbook on Frugal Innovation Chapter 10: Frugal innovation and legitimacy