Co-production of frugal innovation: Case of low cost reverse osmosis water filters in India

Linda Tuulia Annala, Ankur Sarin, Jennifer Green

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21 Citeringar (Scopus)


The increased role of market actors in the provision of drinking water has implied a greater salience to issues of affordability. With its emphasis of increasing affordability without compromising on quality, the idea of frugal innovation holds out particular promise in resource constrained environments. In this paper, we study the case of low cost household water filters using reverse osmosis (RO) technology in the Indian city of Ahmedabad. Using mixed methods, we find the citizen to be an active participant e a coproducer
e in the frugal innovation process that allows small scale, local entrepreneurs to customize their products and services to the needs and price expectations of their customers. This co-production process, that has been facilitated by the proximity of the user with the local entrepreneur, has not only reduced private costs borne by users but also been as successful as their more expensive counterparts in meeting the diverse needs of end users. Further, we find that the context facilitating such service co-production is characterized by institutional co-production, with actions of both the state and citizen creating the demand for innovation around more affordable, private solutions. While there is much to celebrate in the value created by the frugal innovation, we believe the implications of the contested and unregulated water filter technology suggest reasons for caution.
Referentgranskad vetenskaplig tidskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Volym171, Supplement
Sidor (från-till)S110-S118
Antal sidor9
StatusPublicerad - 11.07.2016
MoE-publikationstypA1 Originalartikel i en vetenskaplig tidskrift


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