Identifying ideas for frugal innovations could substantially support engineers and managers in their work. Patents may be a promising source of ideas for frugal innovations. The purpose of this paper is to show how patents of this kind can be identified.
Prior work has developed a generic process model to identify frugal patent candidates. They use semantic analysis and a frugal thesaurus for searching and characterizing frugal patent candidates. The question is, whether and how this process model can be applied to a different industry successfully? The field of small household appliances is selected as a testbed because it is known for including frugal innovations while having a different business model than the industrial field in which the thesaurus was developed.
Applying the process model leads to a number of 22 strongly frugal patent candidates, which are manually evaluated based on three frugal characteristics. Due to this analysis, a high fraction of the candidates could be identified as frugal patents, which validates the process model. In addition, this paper outlines several options for enhancing the process model, e.g. by separating between a frugal search and a frugal evaluation thesaurus.
The process model to identify frugal patent candidates can be used by engineers and technology managers to find ideas for frugal innovations. This paper not only shows its applicability in the industry of small household appliances but gives the basis for its successful transfer to other industries.
Kronemeyer, L.L., Draeger, R. and Moehrle, M.G. (2021), "Finding frugal patent candidates: testing a thesaurus-based process model in the field of small household appliances", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 286-298. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJIS-04-2020-0052
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