Frugal innovations and 3D printing: insights from the field

Par Josip Maric, Florence Rodhain, Yves Barlette

In this paper, we present a growing technological sector – additive manufacturing – and discuss its hidden potential as frugal innovation. Additive manufacturing, which is also known as three-dimensional (3D) printing, constitutes a recent manufacturing process that builds layers to create a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model. 3D printing technology has been identified as one aspect of the digital revolution that has the potential to revolutionize the industrial world. This topic has been surrounded with a lot of hype when predicting future application scope. In this paper, we focus on 3D printing as a technology that, under certain circumstances of technological transfer via community-operated organizations like fab labs, enables the development of frugal solutions targeting Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) population. At the same time, this paper aims to contribute to the discussion on Frugal Innovations in existing scholar literature.
JEL Codes: O32, O35


  • management
  • innovation
  • frugal
  • additive
  • manufacturing
  • 3D printing
  • technology
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