Digital transformation as enabler of affordable green excellence : an investigation of frugal innovations in the wind energy sector

Hamburg University of Technology
  • frugal innovation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Affordable green excellence
  • Wind energy
  • 330: Wirtschaft
  • While the concept of frugal innovation originated in the previous decade with a focus on resource-constrained, under-served consumers living in the Global South, it is finding increasing acceptance and adoption in the economically developed nations of the Global North. Furthermore, frugal solutions are today neither exclusively targeted at (household) consumers nor at the “poor” per se, nor are they confined to a “low tech” context. We can increasingly observe frugal products and services that enable “affordable excellence” to users across customer segments, industrial boundaries, societal strata, institutional domains, and national geographies. A large, but still somewhat unnoticed role in this development is played by the technical advancement in the form of digital transformation. Cutting-edge, general purposes technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, are enabling high-quality and context-sensitive products, processes and services that are affordable in terms of their financial and environmental costs. High affordability, high target-specificity and highly effective (not just efficient) resource utilization characterize a digitally frugal solution. This paper is contextualized in the global wind power sector. With the help of illustrative case studies and content analysis, the study generates preliminary evidence that frugal innovations in conjunction with digital transformation can enable “affordable green excellence.” Propositions are made for further research and a definitional update for frugal information is provided. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-67119-8_12
TUHH Open Research

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