Frugal Innovation lab: Create More Value with Less – Border Sessions

Frugal Innovation lab: Create More Value with Less

Calling all makers, designers, activists, and scientists interested in innovation! Instead of focusing on the most advanced, high tech solutions, let’s get out of our comfort zones and explore the endless possibilities of simplicity. Can we bridge worlds and (business) cultures to create meaningful services and products for people in very specific, often unfavorable circumstances? How can we understand this context? Together we’ll go frugal, cooperate on new levels of scale and learn to deal with complex dynamics. Learn from academic research, international can-do communities and work on cases – not to create a prototype, but to create and discuss a framework for responsible design methods.

The program starts with two presentations by Holly Ritchie and Peter Knorringa with plenty of time for discussion afterward. In the afternoon a series of workshops will be given in which you will work in small groups on practical questions. How can we apply frugal innovation in our work? What would the perspective of “frugal” require if we create a makerspace for innovation programs in The Hague?

10:00-10:15 Walk-in
10:15-12:00 Introduction, presentations, and Q & A with Peter Knorringa & Holly Ritchie
12:00-13:00 Lunch & networking
13:00-14:00 Workshop: 100 Ways to do it right
14:00-15:00 Workshop: The outline for a 10 page manual for designers and innovators

15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-16:30 Workshop: Frugal Makerspace, what would it take?
16:30-17:00 Closing
17:00 Drinks


Peter Knorringa holds a chair in Private Sector & Development and is the Director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA). As a professor working at the International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University Rotterdam), he says: “I do not perceive private firms as either the ‘enemy’ or the ‘heroic deliverer’ of development. Instead, I aim to advance a more empirical and nuanced debate on where and when entrepreneurs and firms are more likely to contribute to a better balance among economic dynamism, sustainability and social responsibility.”

This perspective is highly relevant for the topic of frugal innovation as well. These low cost innovations combine low tech and high tech in reaching solutions for everyday problems in resource constrained environments. Within frugal innovation, technology is one side of the story, but it must be put in perspective from an entrepreneurial and social or cultural perspective in order to contribute to sustainable development outcomes. Join the lab FRUGAL INNOVATION LAB: CREATE MORE VALUE WITH LESS to learn more!

An academic, consultant and social entrepreneur, Holly Ritchie is a keen socio-economic explorer in ‘fragile’, often war-torn, environments. With over 16 years of experience in international development, Holly has worked and lived in Afghanistan (10 years), East Africa, Brazil and the Middle East. Her award-winning PhD (ISS, Erasmus University) looked at the nuances of grassroots women’s enterprise and culture in Afghanistan, and was published in 2016 (Institutional Innovation and Change). Now based out of Kenya, she works with a wide range of international organizations, NGOs and government agencies. She is particularly interested in the role of women’s groups and entrepreneurs in processes of social change; and increasingly, their interaction with emerging technology in our evolving world. Currently she is setting up her own social enterprise in Kenya, THRIVE, Women Socio-preneurs for Change aimed at the capacity building of women aid workers and researchers, and (pro-bono) support to refugee women leaders.