Frugal Innovations and Responsible Entrepreneurship: Case Studies in the Water and Health Sectors in East Africa.


This research investigates new inclusive business models for Dutch companies to improve their performance on commercializing frugal innovations in developing countries.
We design a new integrative framework including 1) ethical and social elements in the product development cycle and 2) inclusive business models. This framework combines four academic fields of interest with action-learning trajectories of five case studies in Kenya and Uganda. Theory behind the integrative model originates from: 1) socio-technical systems, 2) early engagement in new technologies, 3) entrepreneurship, 4) inclusive business models and local economic development. Private sector cases from Philips (Life Sciences and Health), OASEN (water) and Hatenboer (water) are investigated as well as two cases from Leiden University, TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam. These cases address different building blocks of the integrative framework.
The unique feature is that the technical design phases in the innovation development cycle are integrated with ethical and development considerations. This enables firms to develop inclusive business models contributing to both profits and local economic development. Another advantage are opportunities to skip the phase of copying the ?heavier? infrastructures in the developed world, like national piped water systems. Instead, while using the latest mobile technology more decentralised potentially cheaper and more efficient systems are possible which also have potential in European markets.
The outcomes can assist Dutch and African entrepreneurs in the ?Water? and ?LSH? sectors to learn about why, how and when to integrate ethical and developmental considerations into technological design processes while developing and implementing inclusive business models.


Chapter in book

Scientific article


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. C.P. van Beers

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Techniek, Bestuur en Management, Techniek, Strategie & Entrepreneurship

Team members

Dr. H.G.G. Hazenberg, Drs. R.J.B. Howell MA, E. Khakasa Onsongo PhD MA


01/10/2015 to 01/10/2019