Gender and Frugal Innovation: Four Cases of Women Innovators

By Sophia Belghiti-Mahut, Anne-Laurence Lafont, Angélique Rodhain, Florence Rodhain, Leila Temri, Ouidad Yousfi

Combining ingenuity, simplicity and responsibility, frugal innovation is perceived as a back-to-basics approach in the developed countries. Unlike more conventional innovators, frugal innovators exhibit slightly different characteristics at several levels. Indeed, it appears that frugality is based on intuition, and “local thinking”. These features are quite common in academic literature about female innovators. Women innovate less than men, according to some data. Stereotypes and also self-discrimination could help to explain this scarcity. In the present study, we investigate whether frugal innovators present similarities to female innovators. We base our analysis on the background literature and also on the life-stories of four female innovators. We shed light on the way women are innovating and suggest that the frugal innovator’s profile could lead women to feel more involved in innovation.JEL Codes: O31, O32


  • frugal innovator
  • women innovator
  • life-story
  • intuition
  • local ties
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