nl en

Frugal Innovation for Development


Admission requirements

The course is open for all students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


This course is the first thematic module in the LDE Minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’. In the academic literature, and also in policy circles, it is often assumed that frugal innovation can contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of poorer people and, for instance, the realization of the SDGs, but whether this potential is also realized depends on many factors. This course will delve further into this debate and therewith sets the wider context on which the technology and entrepreneurship courses will build.

In the analysis of the relationship between frugal innovation and transformation / developmental processes it matters how both frugal innovation and transformation / development are defined and perceived. Different understandings of both concepts lead to different perspectives on the potential of frugal innovation to contribute to process of transformation that serve people and planet. Trade-offs can be observed as well. The first part of the course will delve into these discussions.

The second part of the course will focus on the actors involved in frugal innovation and the differentiated effects of frugal innovations within society on different groups of people. Issues of agency, power and inequality will be addressed. This provides further insights into the role of various actors in frugal innovation and their interaction.

And thirdly, the course will pay attention to how you could measure the effects and impact of frugal innovations on local as well as regional or national transformation processes. This field of study is still in an exploratory stage. Students are introduced to this new field of study.

Course objectives

After this course students are able to:

· Reproduce and interpret the different understandings of frugal innovation in the academic literature;

· Reproduce and interpret the academic debate on how frugal innovation relates to process of societal transformation and development;

· Understand the role and position of multiple actors involved in the frugal innovation processes and how this influences developmental outcomes;

· Reproduce and interpret the academic discussion on how to measure the effects and impact of frugal innovation on (sustainable) transformation / development.


3 September 2020 until 18 September 2020. A detailed timetable will be presented on Brightspace (Leiden University) and in the syllabus for the minor.


Mode of instruction

(Guest) lectures, in-class and out-class individual and group work, excursion.

Assessment method




Inspection and feedback

Evaluation of presentations and intermediate and final written assignments. Details will be presented in the syllabus for the minor.

Reading list

Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via Blackboard.


You register for this course through uSis (Leiden University)

Registration via uSis is verplicht.

Information about uSis website

Inschrijven voor vakken en tentamens

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.
Not applicable.


If you have questions, please contact the course coordinator Dr. André Leliveld, or send an e-mail to Minor Frugal Innovation
Onderwijsadministratie: Reuvensplaats