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Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development

Leiden-Delft-Rotterdam (LDE) Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development, 2024-2025

Are you interested to learn more about frontier innovation thinking and practices? Do you want to explore the societal relevance of frugal innovation? Are you up for a multidisciplinary challenge? Do you want to combine theory and practice? If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) minor on frugal innovation!

Frugal innovations are informed and inspired by the principle of frugality. In many philosophical and religious traditions across the globe frugality is considered an important virtue, which implies low material consumption and a simple lifestyle to open the mind for spiritual goods such as inner freedom, social peace, and justice. In today’s colloquial meaning frugality also refers to the quality of being economical with (scarce) resources and materials, being sparing. In mainstream innovation thinking and practices, that mainly build upon experiences in high-income countries, the widespread availability of material and non-material resources has always been more or less assumed. This often leads to over-engineering of products, services and systems, whereby a solution to a problem is provided in an elaborate or complicated and expensive manner, overexploiting resources, while a simpler, more affordable solution can be demonstrated to exist with (almost) the same functionality and effectiveness, and by using less resources. This simpler solution can be called ‘frugal innovation’.

During the past decade, frugal innovation has emerged as a new discourse on innovation, challenging mainstream innovation thinking and practices in a global context in which (1) a majority of the people continues to live in contexts in which they do not have access to affordable, basic necessities when it comes to health, housing, energy, water or food, and (2) current production and consumptions patterns, notably in the Global North, have led to overexploitation of resources, causing environmental degradation and climate change worldwide. Among both academics and policy makers, frugal innovation is ascribed potential to contribute to today’s societal challenges such as sustainability, inequality, exclusion, and poverty, across the globe.

In this minor we critically explore and investigate frugal innovation discourses and its ascribed potentials. You will not only discover the various narratives on frugal innovation, you will also apply your knowledge in practice through a field assignment during which you will be work with a multidisciplinary team on a real life frugal innovation challenge. This assignment allows you to combine (part of) your own study background with the knowledge and skills you acquired during the first part of the minor. Underpinning both the theoretical and practical portions of the minor is a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) lens. This involves an exploration into the intersectionality between academia, practice, and the various contexts involved. Similarly, the minor will equip you with further skills for the world after university in terms of navigating uncertainty, the art of asking and questioning, negotiating, building trust, and interviewing. It will also help nurture team working capacities, for transformative change is the sum of the efforts of individuals working and leveraging within collectives.

Are you interested to learn more about frontier innovation thinking and practices? Do you want to explore the societal relevance of frugal innovation? Are you up for a multidisciplinary challenge? Do you want to combine theory and practice? If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) minor on frugal innovation!

Frugal innovations are informed and inspired by the principle of frugality. In many philosophical and religious traditions across the globe frugality is considered an important virtue, which implies low material consumption and a simple lifestyle to open the mind for spiritual goods such as inner freedom, social peace, and justice. In today’s colloquial meaning frugality also refers to the quality of being economical with (scarce) resources and materials, being sparing. In mainstream innovation thinking and practices, that mainly build upon experiences in high-income countries, the widespread availability of material and non-material resources has always been more or less assumed. This often leads to over-engineering of products, services and systems, whereby a solution to a problem is provided in an elaborate or complicated and expensive manner, overexploiting resources, while a simpler, more affordable solution can be demonstrated to exist with (almost) the same functionality and effectiveness, and by using less resources. This simpler solution can be called ‘frugal innovation’.

During the past decade, frugal innovation has emerged as a new discourse on innovation, challenging mainstream innovation thinking and practices in a global context in which (1) a majority of the people continues to live in contexts in which they do not have access to affordable, basic necessities when it comes to health, housing, energy, water or food, and (2) current production and consumptions patterns, notably in the Global North, have led to overexploitation of resources, causing environmental degradation and climate change worldwide. Among both academics and policy makers, frugal innovation is ascribed potential to contribute to today’s societal challenges such as sustainability, inequality, exclusion, and poverty, across the globe.

In this minor we critically explore and investigate frugal innovation discourses and its ascribed potentials. You will not only discover the various narratives on frugal innovation, you will also apply your knowledge in practice through a field assignment during which you will be work with a multidisciplinary team on a real life frugal innovation challenge. This assignment allows you to combine (part of) your own study background with the knowledge and skills you acquired during the first part of the minor. Underpinning both the theoretical and practical portions of the minor is a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) lens. This involves an exploration into the intersectionality between academia, practice, and the various contexts involved. Similarly, the minor will equip you with further skills for the world after university in terms of navigating uncertainty, the art of asking and questioning, negotiating, building trust, and interviewing. It will also help nurture team working capacities, for transformative change is the sum of the efforts of individuals working and leveraging within collectives.

Enroll for this minor via EduXchange, complete the Background and Commitment Form and submit your CV to minorfrugalinnovation@asc.leidenuniv.nl

Maximum number of students: 40

Prospectus number: 5000MFRINN

Language: English

Registration: via EduXchange

LEI students 15 May (13:00hrs) to 4 July 2024

TUD and EUR students 15 May (13:00hrs) to 31 May 2024

Courses

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Frugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship 3
Frugal Innovation for Development 4
Bootcamp 5
Frugal Innovation and Technology 3
Frugal Innovation in Practice 15

Target Group

Enrollments are open to all final year Bachelor's students from Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam, who are interested in this emerging field of study, regardless of study and disciplinary background. This minor especially targets students who want to link their study with tackling concrete societal challenges.

Although not exclusive the minor is in particular attractive for students of anthropology and sociology, area studies, biology, development, global challenges, urbanisation, politics and international relations, economics, business studies, law, health, water, building sciences, industrial design, computer science and engineering, life science and technology, technology and innovation (management) studies, etc.

In general, students who are up for a multidisciplinary challenge and see the mutual benefit of integrating social, entrepreneurial and technological knowledge and skills are encourage to apply. Students with diverse interests and backgrounds ensure insightful cross-disciplinary interaction.

Students have to follow and complete the full 30 ECTS of this LDE minor. In case your studies does not allow you to follow a 30 EC Minor, but you are still interested, you are strongly advised to contact your studies coordinator before applying, to explore the possibility to complete the whole minor. Our experience is that in most cases this can be arranged.

Take note: This minor requires full-time study from September 2024 until the last week of January in 2025. Experiences of students in previous editions of the minor show that it is difficult to combine participation in this minor with other studies or retake exams. The minor forms a continuous program with its own assignment rhythm including the field assignment, in which for reasons of group cohesion and collaboration, a partial stay either in the Netherlands or abroad is not allowed.

The minor has a layered first come first serve admission procedure. A maximum of 40 students- equally distributed among the three LDE universities will be admitted and an equal distribution among disciplines will be aimed for. Enrollments have to be submitted via EduXchange from 15 May together with a Background and Commitment Form and CV submitted in minorfrugalinnovation@asc.leidenuniv.nl

Request an eduID account to register in EduXchange. On how to do it, watch Explore & register for your minor via eduXchange

Incomplete or late enrollments will not be taken into consideration! Successful candidates will be informed before the end of May 2024.

More info

  • Extent: 30 ECs spread over 1 semester

  • Intended for: third year students of the LDE universities from all disciplines

  • Language of instruction: English
    Eduaction coordinator: Madi Ditmars
    Academic coordinator: Dr. André Leliveld

Further information: See the following websites

Although the minor description is synchronised between the LEI, TUD and EUR prospectuses it may take some time. For all purposes the description in this Leiden e-prospectus is leading.

Board of Examiners: African Studies
Education Committee: African Studies BA
Further questions: minorfrugalinnovation@asc.leidenuniv.nl