This paper sheds light on two main concepts applied to innovation for development: frugal innovation and inclusive innovation. Researchers often conflate these concepts when classifying or characterizing innovative endeavours in developing contexts. We argue however that these concepts are fundamentally different based on their philosophical orientations, i.e. frugality versus social inclusion, their respective innovation processes and outcomes. Based on an in-depth literature review, we develop a typology outlining these differences. We show that an inclusive innovation lens accentuates participation of marginalised actors and poverty reduction, while a frugal innovation lens highlights product design processes, business model innovation and resource use. Conceptual clarity on these differences has implications on how we characterise innovation in developing contexts in the academic, practitioner and policy spheres.