Study to develop a quantitative index for emerging markets' potential for demand-oriented innovation (Atlas for Inclusive Innovation)

In general terms, societal challenge-based strategies for economic and innovation policy have become commonplace in Germany and Europe. Under the broad headings of “frugal“ or “inclusive“ innovation, moreover, a growing discussion on the needs of less wealthy strata of the population has emerged – prompting an increasing consideration of trends and lessons from developing and emerging economies.

By definition, frugal innovations are solutions that are adapted to the needs of a specific user group under constraint, i.e. unfavorable or limiting framework conditions, so that they do not contain any unnecessary or unreliable features. Despite their thus substantially reduced price, their robustness and resource efficiency can in parallel be improved.

However, the respective needs of developing and emerging economies that could motivate entrepreneurial and political action remain on many accounts understudies, in particular in quantitative terms. Failing a clear agreement on factors that make markets amenable to and relevant for “frugal“ or “inclusive“ innovation, hardly any systematic efforts have been undertaken to identify and describe “frugal markets“ in a differentiating manner.

The study aims to conceptually develop and operationalise a quantitative index which allows to compare markets with regard to the nation specific needs for “frugal“ or “inclusive“ innovation. During the initial phase of the project (2017-18), the index will be developed with a focus on Asian and European countries. In case of the project's extension (2019-20) coverage may be extended to additional countries (America, Africa).

Additionally, the project will identify and present further case studies of demand-oriented innovation.

  • Selection and treatment of indicators based on conceptual studies.
  • Aggregation of indicators based on statistical analyses as well as drawing on expert consultations.




  • Bertelsmann Stiftung