This article sets the scene for a special issue on why frugal innovations are increasingly important for development research. While the top-down business and management literature on frugal innovation has claimed developmental relevance, we give at least equal importance to much longer-standing bottom-up development studies discourses on grass-root innovation, bricolage, and livelihood strategies. We argue that we need both literatures for a better understanding of how frugal innovations relate to development. Accordingly, we position the articles in this special issue in the frugal innovation and development debate. Finally, we discuss the relevance of a frugal innovation lens in how two major global trends are impacting upon global development opportunities: the global diffusion of 3rd and 4th Industrial Revolution digital technologies and global population dynamics. We consider these two trends to be major entries for future research on frugal innovation and development.

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Keywords 4th Industrial Revolution, Bottom of the Pyramid, development, digital technologies, frugal innovation, Global South, population dynamics
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Journal The European Journal of Development Research
Leliveld, A.H.M, & Knorringa, P. (2017). Frugal Innovation and Development Research. The European Journal of Development Research, 1–16. doi:10.1057/s41287-017-0121-4