The Frugal Company
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The Frugal Company

Introducing the Frugal Strategy Canvas — summarizing core elements of a innovation on 1 page

What is the Frugal strategy Canvas?

It is a framework that will help you build, analyze, improve or create a frugal product, a frugal business model or a “resilient organization”.

It will allow you to develop a holistic vision, identify all the important areas and give a structure to ask the right questions.

It is a one-page template that will help in systemic reflection and summarizing a frugal strategy.

With this Canva I have tried to summarize the great works and research found online and through my experience as an entrepreneur, trainer, and consultant with 2 years of experience researching this innovation philosophy.

I’d like to thank all my teachers and give credit to them, teachers that i have met either in real life or through the online world and books and youtube videos that i have read, heard and integrated. People I have mentioned and not mentioned and forgot to mention. Philosophies, methods and frameworks that have been published…

Prof. Anil Gupta, Navi Radjou, Simone Ahuja, Jaideep Prabhu, Fraunhaufer institute, Valentin BABILLOT, Sophie FRANÇOIS, Valérie MÉRINDOL, CAIRN.INFO, Francesco Rocca , Jean-Michel Huet, Diane de Pompignan, Mathilde Noé, Anne-Sophie Oster, Blue ocean strategy, design to cost, six sigma, Gustavo Razetti, Alexander Osterwalder, Ash Maurya, Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington, Tsun-Yan Hsieh, PROF V V KRISHNA, Peter M. TODD, Martin Aschmoneit Dijana Janevska….Maybe You? (feel free to get in touch and i will include you in the references / credits)

What is meant by “Frugal” and who is it for ?

Navi Radjou among other scholars popularized the notion of a frugal innovation or Jugaad innovation where he explains the philosophy behind this innovation style.

A frugal strategy is a holistic and systemic approach in conceiving a frugal product, a service, a new business model or an innovative supply chain strategy to serve an underservered market. A “frugal innovation” has an objective to use minimum resources for maximizing the value created for the common good with an economic and social impact and a minimal carbon footprint.

This canvas is for anyone who has the intention of creating meaningful solutions and is looking to create abundance by leveraging constraints and his network, be it as an entrepreneur, an organization or a project manager.

How to use it?

The canvas can be used to gain clarity around innovation and entrepreneurial projects, but it can also help in communicating innovative strategies to team members and other stake holders.

Frugal Strategy Canva

8 key questions to start working on a Frugal strategy.

Questions 1 and 2 (Problem and constraints) helps to formulate the problem and clarifies the intention in undertaking a simple strategy approach.

Questions 1 to 5 help understand the problem in a systemic way by identifying key resources, constraints and objectives.

Question 6 and 7 are about frugal engineering and product design.

Question 8 is about frugal business models and helps explores the various alternative revenue generation models to make a solution accessible and affordable.

All boxes combined help find systemic solutions to procurement, production, distribution and disposal taking into account circular economy and reverse logistics.

Here are the 8 questions with a small explanatory note.

1) What is the real problem that I want to solve?

What is the real problem, is it a symptom to another problem ? what is the source of the problem ? what are the problems associated with the central problem? For a product or service to have a radical impact, the basic assumptions about it need to be questioned.What is my intention, which values am I defending? Which problems can I leverage for growth ? Which social / societal problems can I solve in the process?

2) What are the targets and objectives / non-negotiable constraints?

Does the market demand a certain price, do we have time constraints that have to be respected? Everything else needs to be worked backwards keeping these constraints in mind.

3) Which actors and communities are involved?

Innovation has to be a grassroot movement best leveraged through cooperation and collaboration. Which are the various different actors involved directly and indirectly in the value chain? Identify your prosumers and strategic partners who could share risks with you and who are also trying to solve a part of the same puzzle. How can you encourage internal employee engagement and participation in problem solving? Open innovation also needs a community.

4) Doing more: What can I increase, add, improve, above industry standards ?

Basic assumptions need to be challenged, objectives need to be streched for a radical innovations. How can I have a positive impact on environment and society. Can I give more than I take to ?

5) Which resources can I leverage?
Which existing resource, knowledge domain, existing platform can I use to leverage the opportunity? What information / resources can we share with external entities of the company to create value for the common good?
Can I use a specific technology to democratize a solution?

6) Resources, wastes, feature that need to be Removed, Reduced or Replaced?

In frugal engineering, you need to focus and concentrate on the essential and core requirements and needs. And sometimes this means simplifying and replacing a process that is complicated or a resource that is rare and expensive. When you have to leverage a constraint, a waste also becomes a resource.

7) Can the solution be robust, modular, simple, sustainable ?

Here we are looking into the design elements of the product or process. How can the solution be more robust, last longer, can we build in optionality and flexibility? Can the design be modular? Modularity brings flexibility. Can the solution be decentralized? Can the functionality be built into the design to make it intuitive to use for someone without prior knowledge? Can the raw material be sourced locally? Can nudge parameters be designed to promote healthier habits ?

8) What are the adjacent revenue streams, leasing models and other innovative value distribution models?

To make a product or service accessible and affordable, one can come up with an ingenious financing model. How can you reduce cost of ownership? Subscription models, collective buying are some of the ways to reduce cost for the consumer. How can you increase loyalty of your customers?

Author of the Canvas?

The Frugal innovation strategy canvas has been design by Abhinav Agarwal

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