SXSW Interactive 2014

Frugal Innovation: Simple Designs To Improve Lives


80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day. If you are part of the world's lowest socioeconomic level you may be living in a house that can barely be called that. It's a collection of sticks, cardboard, plastic sheet. A dirt floor, no water, electricity or sewage. Enter frugal innovation or frugal engineering: The process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Usually this refers to removing nonessential features from a durable good in order to sell it in developing countries. In this presentation we explore simple, low cost, effective and proven global design solutions that do not require exotic technology but that when combined can dramatically improve the quality of life of people around the world. Recent examples of successful design that have raised living standards in developing countries will be shown.

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Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Does innovation always require complex or exotic technology?
  2. What are cost effective approaches to improve the lives of the largest number of people around the world?
  3. Does innovation always have to originate in developed nations?
  4. What are important considerations when creating products for developing nations?
  5. Are there simple innovations that can be implemented now to improve the quality of life of people around the world?



Jose Briones, Sr. Consultant, C-Level Advisors

Meta Information:

  • Tags: innovation
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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